With the recent buzz around the 2017 Youth Development Programme final, we felt it was the perfect time to catch up with last year’s winner, Ruth Perry. Hailing from Kent in the South-East of England, Ruth has been involved with the Society for some time now, and was a central part in the UK and Ireland team for the 2017 World Angus Forum. We’ve been chatting to Ruth to get some insight into what she’s been doing in the past year in terms of work and studies, along with some reaction to how she’s benefitted since taking part in YDP. We even got some tips for any more budding youngsters out there!
What are you currently doing in terms of work?
I’m currently working on a commercial beef farm where we breed and finish Aberdeen-Angus sired calves. I really love getting to learn and further my knowledge on the commercial side of things. With all the major retailers having Aberdeen-Angus as a premium brand, I think it’s really important to build this commercial awareness for the future.
When is your study abroad trip?
I’m going to be travelling to South America in May of 2018 to spend 7 months over there off the back of last year’s Youth Development Programme. I didn’t want to head away straight away as I knew we had the World Angus Forum coming up which I didn’t want to miss in the Summer. Now that Summer is over, I’m really looking forward to my travels and am excited to head out on a new adventure!
How do you feel you have benefited from taking part in the YDP?
I have benefitted hugely from the Youth Development Program! I started it 6 years ago and had little knowledge on pedigree breeding, let alone Aberdeen-Angus. As I’m not from a farming background my love for commercial cattle and showing started at school, the school itself had a farm on site. From the YDP workshops and working with different Aberdeen-Angus breeders, especially Alan and Rob Bishop of the Warrenho Herd, in the past 6 years I have established a huge love for the breed! I have now started my own pedigree herd and most recently won Aberdeen-Angus Breed champion at Newbury show with a heifer, Cheerbrook Empress S081, that I brought from Andrew Shufflebotham in April. Another great part of the YDP is the senior conference. This weekend gives the older participants of YDP an opportunity to learn a great deal about the breed and the beef industry. In February this year we visited Dawn Meats where we got an insight in to the organisation, from the slaughtering of the cattle to the packaging of the beef – we got to experience the whole process which I think we can all agree was a brilliant opportunity.
What are your plans for the future?
In terms of the immediate future, I’m planning and organising everything for my trip abroad next year, while continuing to work on the farm that I currently do. I can’t wait to gain the valuable experience that I will whilst in South America, I think this will really help me broaden my knowledge of the breed and the industry from an international point of view. When I return, my plan is to concentrate on growing my own herd with a view to eventually having my own farm.
Do you have any tips for youngsters looking to get in to the world of cattle breeding?
My advice for young people who are looking at getting into the world of cattle breeding is to attend events such as the YDP or Young Farmers and to get as much experience as you can from other cattle breeders. I can’t stress enough how important and helpful it is to absorb the knowledge and skills from those around you – I have certainly found that to be the cornerstone for building my own skills. It is definitely hard work to own your own cattle, but the rewards completely outweigh the negatives!
We’d like to thank Ruth for taking the time to talk to us and we wish her all the best in her upcoming trip to South America! It was great getting an insight in to the benefits she has felt from the Youth Development Programme and we thank her for the advice she has gave to the youngsters. We look forward to catching up with Ruth to hear more about her trip to South America.