Despite coming from an urban background, South Tyneside teenager Abbie Small is making her way in the world of agriculture.
The 18-year-old, from South Shields, said: “Even though none of my family are involved in farming, I knew I wanted to work with animals after I helped with lambing on a farm near Rothbury four years ago.
“I’m now in my final year of an agricultural course at Northumberland College’s Kirkley Hall campus and I hope to work with livestock in the future.” Northumberland College is in its second year as the main sponsor of the Northumberland County show and has put its name to the new classes for Aberdeen Angus in the Cattle Section this year, where Abbie has an eye on the prize.
She said: “I really like the Aberdeen Angus cattle. They have a very docile nature and are easy to handle. This makes them perfect for halter training and showing.”
David Carr, secretary of the Cattle Section at the County Show, explained the decision to reinstate the Aberdeen Angus classes after an absence of several years.
“Due to support from retailers such as Waitrose and Marks and Spencer, the demand for Aberdeen Angus beef is soaring,” he said. “The upsurge in the popularity of this traditional breed has given commercial producers a huge boost. The County Show aims to reflect current trends in the industry and will showcase the best examples in the region.”
Marcus Clinton, vice-principal at Northumberland College, said: “Our plans are to ensure Kirkley Hall is firmly at the centre of the rural community, training the next generation of farmers.
“We have recently appointed a new farm manager, John Charlton, who has 20 years’ experience of arable and livestock farming. He will oversee the introduction of new breeds of cattle and other livestock as well as establishing new opportunities for students.
“Over the past few years we have invested heavily in our livestock and are very pleased to showcase our pedigree Aberdeen Angus cattle at the County Show this year.”
Along with achieving its best ever Ofsted result last year, work has begun at the Kirkley Hall campus as part of a £9.5m overall development plan, which includes the building of brand new machinery and tractor workshops at the campus farm.
The Northumberland County Show takes place on May 26 at Bywell, near Stocksfield. For the first time the show is accepting online entries and entries are already coming in via this medium.
Schedules for competition entrants are available now and can be downloaded from the website www.northcountyshow.co.uk