The Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society is calling all budding young stockmen and women to sign up for the 2023 Youth Development Programme (YDP) workshops which start at the end of April.
Tina Russell, National YDP coordinator, says the programme provides a fantastic opportunity for anybody between the age of eight and 24 to understand more about showing cattle, while allowing them to make friends with likeminded people.
“There’s a number of workshops taking place across all four nations and the hands-on events provide an opportunity to meet and learn from experienced stockpeople on-farm, in a safe and welcoming environment,” says Mrs Russell.
“It’s an action-packed programme which covers a whole host of areas including animal welfare, cattle handling, show and sale preparation, presentations from industry specialists, plus the opportunity to compete at our final.”
Robert Gilchrist, CEO of the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society, says The Society is really pleased to sponsor this programme which offers so much to people interested in the beef sector.
He says: “The Society is passionate about supporting young people in building their knowledge of the beef sector and recognises the role future generations will play; we’re enormously proud to support this initiative.”
He says the scheme is open to all breeders, not just those with Aberdeen-Angus, and adds: “We’d strongly recommend interested young people head along to the workshops as they’ll learn a lot and make friends for life as Nicola, last year’s champion, has done.”
The Society’s latest YDP champion, Nicola Howie from Aberdeenshire, who is extremely passionate about beef production and turning out high-quality Aberdeen-Angus cattle on the family farm, says she has enjoyed attending YDP workshops for the past 13 years.
She says: “It’s fantastic to have been the winner of the 2022 YDP final, however it didn’t happen overnight; I’ve enjoyed attending workshops every year since I was eight-years-old.”
Miss Howie says she has learnt so much from being involved in the YDP and most importantly made lots of new friends.
She adds: “The one thing I’d say to people who aren’t sure whether to sign up, is that the friends you make at the workshops and senior conferences are definitely for life.
“Last year, I participated in many shows all over the country with our cattle and was asked to show for other herds too – the highlight was showing our own bull at the Stirling Bull Sales.”
Miss Howie’s prize for winning the senior YDP final was a £1,500 travel bursary, and she plans to travel to the US.
She says: “I’ve always wanted to travel around North America, seeing how they breed and turnout cattle over there.
“I’ve already got a list of farms to visit and can’t wait to see what opportunities my trip and winning the final will bring for me.”