A major industry showcase organised by the Hexham-based National Beef Association will this year feature a new contest aimed at testing the skills and knowledge of young beef farmers from across the UK.
The first event of its kind to be held in the country, The Future Beef Farmer Challenge 2015 will take place at the NBA Beef Expo at York Auction Mart on May 21.
It will see entrants - either teams or individuals - face four challenges at sponsored stands, testing their capabilities when it comes to breeding and genetics, cattle health, nutrition and cattle selection for slaughter.
NBA director Chris Mallon said: “There really is no competition like the Future Beef Challenge anywhere else in the UK and we’re delighted to both launch it as part of NBA Beef Expo 2015 and for it to become an integral part of annual NBA Beef Expo events in the future.
“Encouraging the next generation of progressive beef farmers is hugely important for the future sustainability of the industry and it’s something we at the NBA are very keen to support.”
The inaugural competition is being run in association with EBLEX, the British Charolais Cattle Society, XL Vets and Thompsons of York.
The British Charolais Cattle Society challenge will ask participants to classify four finished cattle using the EUROP grid, with points being awarded for choosing the correct conformation and fat class.
The EBLEX challenge, then, will look at breeding and genetics, with competitors comparing the EBVs of six bulls and selecting the most appropriate choices in different scenarios.
XL Vets, meanwhile, will provide a multiple choice health questions test, while Thompsons will look at nutrition knowledge, asking competitors to identify seven straight feeds and four forage silages, selecting whether they are primarily sources of fibre, energy or protein.
Senior regional manager at EBLEX, Steve Dunkley, said: “The Future Beef Farmer Challenge is designed to identify a number of forward thinking, younger beef farmers that we as industry organisations can get behind, support and help develop.
“There is a tremendous calibre of young farmers out there and I am sure that the winners of these competitions will be advocates for the industry in the future.”
Teams - which can consist of between two and four members aged between 16 and 26 - must register by May 7 by contacting the EBLEX Northern Office on 01904 771214.
Individuals aged 16-36 can enter the Open Challenge on the day of the event.
The winning team will be awarded the NBA’s Duke of Northumberland Trophy while the winner of the open class will receive the NBA Frank Momber Memorial Trophy.
A range of other prizes for first, second and third places will be offered, including Yorkshire Show Tickets and a voucher to attend workshops organised by EBLEX and XL Vets.