The Godfrey Neal Young Stockman Award – read all about the three successful applicants

The Godfrey Neal Young Stockman Award – read all about the three successful applicants


We received a good number of applications for the Godfrey Neal Young Stockman’s Bursary this year and there was a really high standard of applicants which were all put before a panel to assess. The fund is a sum of money given to the Society to help further develop youngsters in the cattle business who can demonstrate potential to benefit greatly from the extra training provided and how that little helping hand from the fund can help advance their already so promising skills. We’re delighted to be able to share with you the three successful applicants from this year and their applications that were submitted.

We hope that this will encourage more young people to apply for the annual grant which provides a great opportunity to develop your skills and stand you in good stead for your career:

Alistair Bland (22) – pictured above

”My name is Alistair Bland, I’m 22 and live on a tenanted family hill farm situated on the edge of the Peak District. Being used to the continental cross cattle kept at home, spending a year at Wedderlie Aberdeen-Angus on my Harper Adams placement year was an eye opener.

During my year in the Borders my interest in the breed grew as I developed and improved my stockmanship skills. I liked the placid nature and maternal characteristics shown by the cattle at Wedderlie. This provoked the recent purchase of two heifers from the Tilson family as I start my own ‘Alsacre’s’ herd back at home.

Having noticed a stark contrast between the calving difficulty of our continental cattle at home and those at Wedderlie, I recently completed my dissertation titled ‘The association between eye muscle area and calving ease in Aberdeen-Angus cattle’. During this research I investigated the influence of selecting for eye muscle area when breeding cattle and the practical implications on calving ease and cattle management associated with this.

After graduation in September this year I plan to travel to New Zealand for six months where I hope to see different farms and systems on both North and South Island. I am hoping that traveling and seeing different ways of doing things will give me new ideas which I could bring home to help change and improve the way the livestock is managed at home. I would use any money awarded to help pay for flights to New Zealand due to their substantial cost.

On returning, I will do talks about my trip to local Derbyshire young farmers clubs in order to encourage more young people to travel and experience different ways of farming.’’

Congratulations to you Alistair from all at the Society. We look forward to keeping up with you on your travels and sharing your experiences with the wider membership. We’re certain that this will encourage more young people to embrace the opportunities to travel worldwide and gain further experiences to enhance the most popular breed in the world, Aberdeen-Angus!

John Hunt (20)

”I am writing to you to express my interest in applying for the named bursary. If successful, I would like to use it to take my ‘car and trailer’ driving test. If there is funding available and it would be judged appropriate, I feel that some formal lessons to help familiarise with the assessment would be required, and ensure it is undertaken successfully.

Whilst I’ve not had much direct involvement with Aberdeen-Angus cattle, I heard about this bursary through the excellent Youth Development Program, of which I have attended one of the training days and hope to again in the future. I have also borrowed an Aberdeen-Angus bull to run with some of my Red Polls, and will be interested to see how his calves benefit from the breed’s superior growth rate.

I am applying for this bursary to develop my ability as a stockman through the legal ability to tow a trailer, specifically for the movement of my Red Poll cattle. From buying the first cow and calf 10 years ago, I now have developed with my family a herd of 22 breeding cows and followers. As my university studies come to an end, I feel it is imperative that I’m able to transport these cattle independently. I believe this for three main reasons.

The first and most pressing is that I have limited grazing availability, and so the herd rely on conservation sites managed by the Wildlife and Greensand Ridge Trusts. This requires lots of regular movements by trailer of small groups; for example, last week my dad and I took 3 steers to a 5 acre marshland site. In future I would need to be able to undertake such movements independently so that I can effectively manage the herd and perhaps facilitate keeping more cattle, hence developing my stockman skills and career.

Another benefit the award could bring to my career is to enable me to attend more shows independently, without relying on family members or costly hauliers. I have been showing livestock for 13 years, and cattle for 10 of those, during which I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy some success. This includes our first breed championship at the Red Poll national show 2 years ago and being Reserve Champion young stockman of the year at Smithfield in 2015. More importantly, showing has helped me learn and develop skills for life, both cattle related and otherwise. It is a unique opportunity to learn from industry experts and make friends and contacts in the cattle breeding world, both of which I feel are invaluable to a career as a stockman.

Finally, I hope that by taking more cattle to shows I can help others to develop as stock people. In the Spring, I regularly had up to 15 other young farmers in the yard leading cattle, most of whom had absolutely no experience with livestock. Enabling them all to compete at the Beds YFC Rally and other shows requires taking as many cattle as possible by trailer. The benefits and enjoyment this brings are clear to see – one girl, who had never touched a heifer before January, even went on to be the champion young handler at the South Suffolk Show! This bursary has the potential to help many more potential young stock people have similarly positive experiences with cattle.

Thank you in advance for considering this application – please do let me know if I can be of further assistance or provide any more information.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Godfrey Neal bursary and the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society for their continued support and encouragement of young stockmen – few organisations do more in this regard.’’

The panel consider this as a very comprehensive submission for a grant and were really taken with John’s outlook on cattle breeding. showing and stockmanship skills that he had already picked up. His willingness to share his experiences with a wider young audience is a credit to him. We wish him every success in the show ring going forward and would also love for him to keep us posted of his progress through his trailer test so that we can share his experience of that. The panel are sure that this will encourage those who are considering taking their test to go for it, as a result of the vast benefits associated as mentioned by John.

Barry Smith

”I wish to apply for funding from the above trust to help towards the trailer test and lessons. The herd at home consists of 60 Aberdeen-Angus cattle based on four out farms (two of which are rented), total acreage c.60. The land is typical drumlin type and requires careful management to avoid poaching and trailer work is essential in moving stock from farm to farm.

This year I have exhibited cattle at Fingal, Mullingar and Oldcastle shows with some success and I intend to show in Tullamore and at the all-Ireland in Mohill. I had to engage a qualified driver and it is imperative that I do the trailer test asap. This test will be very expensive in Southern Ireland depending on the number of lessons the instructor deems necessary.

The Lawsonsford Herd was established in the 1980’s by my father and it is my intention to carry on with his breeding policy of easy calving, easy fleshing cattle to meet the market demand in this region which is the dairy trade for the most part. I hope the Trust will look favourably on my application.’’

Well done to Barry and congratulations from us all at the Society for your successful application for a grant from the trust. In the view of the panel, your will to identify your market and produce Aberdeen-Angus cattle to suit that market is a credit to you and you are hitting the right attributes to be successful in the dairy game. We also wish you every success in the show ring which hopefully with your trailer test passed, you will be able to go to more than you mention above and will make life easier at home when managing the land and moving cattle around.

We hope that by publishing the successful applications, we will encourage many more to enter next year and the above young people are examples of what the panel deemed the most fitting from the selection of entries submitted. Applications can be worked on during the long winter evenings when the stock work is done and so long as we have them in between now and the 31st July 2019, they will be considered for next year’s funding awards – it’s never too early, don’t delay, apply today!! Simply write to the Society or send an email to Barrie Turner on [email protected] with the subject titled The Godfrey Neal Young Stockman Award.