With the kick-off of the World Angus Forum just a few days away now, the youth teams from the UK and Ireland are ready to test themselves against their peers from around the world in the youth competition. John McCulloch of Castle Douglas in Dumfries & Galloway is part of the team and we’ve been speaking to him ahead of the event. John is an ambitious and driven young farmer who comes from a strong farming family, currently working for the Biggar Family at Chapelton Farm in Castle Douglas, before starting his Agriculture course at Oatridge college in September.
Even at such a young age, John has gained some great experience in the world of agriculture, working with some experienced stockmen and getting the chance to travel to Australia in 2016 to visit farms and learn about how they operate, giving him some great insight and ideas that he can put into practice in his future career. Between his travels, current work at Chapelton and work done on the family farm, he has some great experience under his belt.
John has been a keen participant in the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society’s Youth Development Programme, having completed two qualifications through the programme, the Certificate in Animal Care and Presentation and the Level 2 Diploma in Work-Based Agriculture, giving him a great opportunity to express his interest and knowledge in the theoretical side of the agricultural industry. With upwards of 40 young handler competition wins to his name, John was reserve champion young handler at the 2012 Royal Highland Show and Champion young handler at the 2015 Great Yorkshire Show. He also became Marks & Spencer and Dawn Meats national young stockperson of the year in 2015 at the Royal Smithfield Festival, some magnificent achievements at a young age. He is also a keen member of the Young Farmers Association, and sits on the committee at Stewartry Young Farmers Club, one of the oldest young farmers clubs in Scotland.
When we spoke to John about his experience and his thoughts on the cattle breeding industry, he said:
‘’I’ve worked with many breeds of cattle such as Charolais and Limousin, but I feel that the native breeds such as Aberdeen-Angus and Beef Shorthorn are coming back to dominate the market as both producers and consumers are recognising the potential of native breeds. This is due to schemes such as the Morrison’s Native Beef Scheme which highlights the importance and benefits of native breeds, as well as offering a premium for native bred beef.’’
Outside of the world of agriculture, John has a keen interest in both golf and rugby and enjoys his visits to Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow with his dad and friends to support the Warriors. When talking of his reaction to being selected as part of the UK and Ireland youth teams for the World Angus Forum, he said:
‘’I was hugely shocked but absolutely delighted to be picked for the youth team at the World Angus Forum 2017. It is an honour and a privilege to be part of the host country, welcoming delegates from all over the world to the UK and showing them the home of the Aberdeen-Angus breed – one of the most popular and recognisable cattle breeds in the world’’.
We wish John and his teammates the best of luck in the competition, we’re sure you’ll all do a magnificent job representing the UK and Ireland while having a great time in the process.