2006 Young Members Report

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by Stephanie Birch

It doesn’t feel like 12 months ago that I was sat writing last year’s Young Members report, 2006 seems to have flown by.

The Young Member’s year started in April with a training weekend at Warwickshire College. There were several guest speakers who came along to talk to us about nutrition and the ABRI system and a discussion was also held with Dan Evans and Fiona Sloan about the Young Member’s ideas for the up and coming World Congress 2008. The afternoon was spent watching a very informative clipping and dressing demonstration, from which I think everybody took away something they could use in the future. In the evening we all went to Leamington Spa for Ten Pin Bowling which gave us a great opportunity to get to know other young members. A big thank you must go to all those who came to talk to us and to all those who helped organise and make the weekend possible.

Across the country many regional clubs held stock judging events preparing for the Royal Show and before we knew it the event was around again. This year’s competition was again run in conjunction with the Belgian Blue and Blonde Cattle Societies. May I thank our Judges, Stewards, Scorers, Timekeepers and all the office staff who gave up their time to help with the competition. Congratulations to all those who competed this year and won prizes.

At all the Royal Shows and at both of the Perth Bull sales the Young Stockperson of the year competitions were well contested. I would like to thank all the Sponsors and Judges for their time and support.

Congratulations must go to all the Young Members who have had success in both the show and sale rings this year it is great to see so many of you getting involved. The Welsh Club Young Handlers competition this year has been won by Angharad Jones.

The results of this year’s competitions are as follows:
Show Trophy Judge Winner
Perth Febuary The New Trend Trophy David Argo Rhona Macaskill
The Royal Highland The Corskie Trophy Hector Macaskill Nikki Hughes
The Royal The Forsdale Trophy David Bell Rob Heaps
The Royal Welsh The Dyfed Trophy Judith Cockerill Owain Davies
Perth October The United Auction Trophy David Barker Neil McIlwaine
Enniskillen The Northern Ireland Simmental Club Trophy Morag Smith William Ferguson

Royal Show Junior Stock Judging Competition Results 2006 SENIOR TEAM: 1st North West Rob Heaps & Ron Loftus 2nd Midlands Rob Fitton & Boomer Birch 3rd Scotland Gillian Greenhill & William Young

JUNIOR TEAM: 1st Wales Anwen Jones & Rhys Francis 2nd Wales Angharad Jones & Angharad Francis 3rd South East Emma & Luke Blomfield

SENIOR INDIVIDUAL: 1st North West & Centre West Rob Heaps & Nina Blundell 3rd Midlands Rob Fitton

JUNIOR INDIVIDUAL: 1st South East Luke Blomfield 2nd Centre West Vicki Hicks 3rd Wales Rhys Francis

SENIOR BEST REASONS: Scotland Gillian Greenhill

JUNIOR BEST REASONS: Midlands & Centre West Boomer Birch & Sarah Hunt

During the summer Caroline Greenhill and myself were asked to represent the Society on behalf of the Young Members at the Simmental World Congress in Calgary, Canada, a full report can be found in the Review.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Simmental Society, Council and everybody who made this trip of a lifetime possible. Many thanks must go to the Society Council and all the office staff for their continued help, support and encouragement, it is very much appreciated. Also thanks to those Young Members that have helped this year and we look forward to your continued support next year where there is much to look forward to and a World Congress to plan for.

Our AGM will be held at the Perth bull sales in February on Monday 19th February at 4.30pm. Please gather in the foyer after the Female sale and we can all go to the meeting room together. The AGM will be an opportunity to elect a new Chairman, Vice Chairman and Secretary, so if you would like to be more involved please come along and make sure you have someone to nominate you. This meeting will also be used to discuss the Young Member’s involvement at the World Congress 2008, please come prepared with ideas and suggestions for this event.

Canada Young Breeders Forum By Stephanie Birch - Vice Chairman SYMA

A new initiative was created for Young Simmental Breeders (age 18-25yrs) from around the world to come together and learn more about the global cattle industry, and the Simmental breed as a worldwide provider of quality genetics.

Included in the forum were various roundtable discussions covering issues such as nation specific challenges to the industry and the breed, global concerns for the industry, and information sharing about each individual youth programmes of the various Simmental Associations.

In addition to that, the Young Breeders had the chance to partake in the General Council Meetings of the World Simmental-Fleckvieh Congress, go on various cattle tours around Southern Alberta, and experience a Canadian Simmental Cattle show and sale.

The Council nominated Stephanie Birch & Caroline Greenhill from the SYMA to be our ambassadors at the Congress and we have it on excellent authority that both ladies carried out all their duties with great efficiency and did a sterling job of representing the Society, the SYMA and the breed.

We would like to take this opportunity of thanking them both for all their hard work.

This is just a quick report on one of the most fantastic experiences of my life. In July I was lucky enough to attend the Simmental World Congress in Calgary Canada.

July 11 (Day 1) On the first day I was picked up from the hotel and taken to Calgary University where we met all of the other delegates and registered for the week ahead. This time gave us the chance to get to know each other before starting the Congress activities.

July 12 (Day 2) Each morning was an early start for breakfast. We started the day with three speakers who came and told us how the young Canadian Simmental Association worked and how it had benefited them in their lives and gave us some ideas of what we could be doing in the future. In the afternoon we were split into groups consisting of a young member from each country, where we had a debate and prepared a presentation on the interesting question ‘What is a Simmental’? The evening took us to the Opening Ceremonies where the young members carried in the flags of the member countries of the federation. This gave us a great opportunity to meet the adult delegates from all over the world.

July 13 (Day 3) The morning was spent in the general meeting were we again had a chance to listen to some very interesting speakers. In the afternoon we gave the presentations that we had prepared the day before and discussed our opinions. We then went on a ranch tour where we saw a small number of cattle and had a lovely afternoon socialising on a hill with the main group. This also gave us our first opportunity to hear Fiona sing. At night we were taken for dinner in Calgary Tower - what an experience having dinner 500ft above the ground whilst revolving. The view was unbelievable!

July 14 (Day 4) The morning was spent watching the Simmental show, which gave us a great opportunity to get a really good look at the type of cows they have in Canada. In the afternoon we saw the Rodeo and the Chuck Wagon Racing with a fantastic grandstand show to finish the day.

Cattle on Show at the Canadian World Congress

July 15 (Day 5) The morning started with a grooming seminar, this was very interesting as the Canadians seemed to do most things a different way to ourselves. We then got to watch the Simmental sale, which again was very different to our sales. In the evening all the young members had tickets to the biggest night club in town.

Fiona Sloan with Caroline & Stephanie & Clarke (Caroline’s fiancé) World Congress 2006

July 16 (Day 6) On our final day as a group, the main activity for the day was white water rafting, which when it came to it, I actually chickened out! We all spent the afternoon at college learning to be cowboys and this again proved to be great fun particularly as I don’t have a great friendship with horses. The evening took us to the closing ceremonies where we were able to say our goodbyes to the people we had only met at the beginning of the week, but I am sure will be friends for life.

I would like to thank Council and the Society for giving myself and Caroline this once in a lifetime opportunity that we will never forget. We are now looking forward to being involved with the Congress in 2008 and setting up a top class itinerary for our visiting Young Members.

Young Members Forum

By Caroline Greenhill - Young Members Representative

At the end of June 06, having just returned home from a week at The Royal Highland Show we packed our bags and set off for 3 weeks in Canada. After spending 2 weeks travelling around the spectacular sights of Vancouver and The Rockies we arrived in Calgary ready to take part in the first Young Members forum as part of The World Congress 2006. It was an honour and a privilege to have been invited to represent Britain at this event and we both arrived with much enthusiasm and were looking forward to the week ahead with great excitement.

The first morning of the Young Members forum was based in a classroom and we had three excellent presentations from “Jason” of JB Livestock, Dr Egan Brockhoff and Myles Glazeman. During the presentations there was an air of enthusiasm and encouragement. I am sure every one of the junior delegates was able to leave with an idea of something they could try themselves. Jason spoke of his own experiences of breeding cattle and in his presentation highlighted the importance of making the most out of advertising with business cards, leaflets and photography - something which is clearly very successful in Canada. He also emphasised the importance of “people” within the cattle industry, highlighting the need to be able to talk confidently about your product, being knowledgeable re pedigrees and blood-lines being a valuable skill, but we have to be able to communicate this to potential customers. Networking with fellow breeders is a great way to learn skills and tricks of the trade and Jason emphasised the fun and friendship which develops amongst breeders along the way.

World Representatives with the Congress Banner.

There is a well developed and very active Young Breeders Programme in Canada and I’m sure, after listening to Dr Egan Brockhoff’s talk on how this has been developed in Canada, we can all strive to encourage the Young Members here in the U.K. He encouraged us to ensure we develop our own Constitution and Rules emphasising that each region is different and therefore we need to tailor a programme for each region, relying on “lead” people in each region, to get things going. Here in the U.K., geography can often be a barrier in getting “young members together”, a problem that has been successfully overcome in Canada by building upon existing infrastructure e.g. Royal Shows, Bull Sales and Winter Fairs.

Myles Glazeman from M & J Farms completed the presentations and highlighted a key phrase in developing a breeding programme “You need to know where you have been to see where you are going”. He encouraged young members to embrace challenge and to view the beef business as a whole to learn from advances and achievements in other areas.

In the afternoon, the junior delegates which included representation from various regions of Canada, America, Germany, Australia as well as ourselves, had a debate about the introduction of red and black lines and whether this has affected the identity of the Simmental. This was very interesting: Red and black genes have apparently been used to meet market demand but, personally, I feel many of the Simmental traits as we know them in the U.K. have been lost and the “Red and Black” have changed the “identity” of the Simmental breed. The Canadian breeders on the other hand feel they would not be able to sell the type of cattle we have in the UK (I took with me some photographs of our cattle and some editions of the Breeder and Feeder and The Scottish Farmer in order to let them see what our cattle look like).

As Young Members we were welcomed into the main Congress activities for the opening ceremonies and for the general meeting the following morning. It was great to see the Youth of to-day being welcomed and made such an important part of the formal proceedings resulting in an opportunity to mix with the other delegates.

On the 14th July we arrived at the Stampede Park to watch the Simmental Show. As the photographs demonstrate the cattle are very different to the cattle we know and love here in the UK. I went to Canada knowing that the cattle would be different but found they were radically different, apart from the obvious colour difference, the cattle were less powerful and lacked muscle and shape.

The judging was difficult to follow: the judges in Canada looking for different qualities in an animal compared with judging as we know it and they also place the cattle in order from last to first! The following day took us to the Simmental Sale which saw cattle selling for large sums of money. There were many embryos sold and several “pick of the heifer calves from a herd”. This means the buyer then visited the ranch to choose his heifer from a crop of calves! Also there were no senior heifers for sale…in Canada they are all calved before 2 years old.

Before attending the closing ceremonies on the final evening, we also attended a Cattle Grooming seminar, a white water rafting trip and an afternoon at a Rodeo college as well as tickets to the Calgary Stampede Rodeo and the Chuckwagon Races.

Attending the first Young Breeders Forum really was a “once-in-a-life-time” experience allowing us to meet with International delegates and to hear and see how Simmentals are bred for different purposes around the world.

We are very thankful to the organisers and sponsors in Canada for providing such a well organised, informative and enjoyable forum and we look forward to meeting again with many of the International delegates who are planning to attend the 2nd Young Breeders Forum in 2008 to be held in the UK.

Finally we would like to thank the British Simmental Cattle Society for providing us with the excellent opportunity of representing the UK in Calgary.

Gold at the Pinnacle Awards for Harper Adams University College Student

Abigail with a replica of her award

Abigail Solomon from Wiston, Pembrokeshire, and a final year student at Shropshire-based, Harper Adams University College has been presented with a Gold award at the prestigious Pinnacle Awards for Excellence in Business Management. Abigail, a BSc (Hons) Agriculture and Land and Farm Management student was announced as the Gold Award Winner at the 10th Annual Award Ceremony that took place at the Farmers Club, London on Friday 23rd April. She is the first female to win the Gold Award in the ten years of the competition.

Abigail and another Harper Adams Student, David Hope, was recommended and nominated by farm business management lecturer Tony Asson after completing a project whilst studying a module on Farm Diversification. The students at the UK’s leading provider of higher education for the rural and land-based industries were set the task of identifying diversification options for a local dairy farm at Hinstock. Both Abigail and David were short-listed to the final eight and were questioned by the judging panel for 25 minutes about their projects before presenting their business plans and initial research ideas to the judging panel, other short-listed students, college tutors, principals and sponsors.

The head of the judging panel, Professor John Prescott said that “Abigail’s project was an example of the innovative thinking that students entering agriculture needed to demonstrate. In an industry where there are considerable challenges to be faced, it is encouraging to see that students such as Abigail can identify practical opportunities for businesses to develop and enhance their profitability.”

Tony said “I was extremely impressed with the depth of market research into a number of potential diversification ideas in Abigail’s project from which she then selected to develop a range of traditional farm buildings into an on farm childrens nursery.”

Harper Adams University College Principal, Professor Wynne Jones said “We are extremely proud of Abigail’s winning achievement. Her commitment and ability will set her in very good stead towards her future career.” He continues “Leaders in the agricultural and land-based industries should be very pleased that such high quality young people are leaving higher education and are seeking opportunities to take the industry, that is seeing major change and challenges, forward. The awards are also yet another example that demonstrates students from the University College are the best in the field.

The national awards, which are sponsored by The Farmers Club, ADAS and the  Cave Foundation and supported by the Guild of Agricultural Journalists, set a unique  challenge for students to demonstrate their potential. Competitors had to demonstrate sound business management skills which are essential for securing a successful future in the rural economy.

Abigail, the Gold Award winner took centre stage when presented with the Nickerson Cup, commemorative certificate and prize winnings of £1,250. The Pinnacle Awards also awarded the University College a matching sum of money that each student won. It is hoped that this prize money will be used to create an award for students studying agriculture who submit a piece of outstanding work in the subject area of farm business management

Abigail said “I am overwhelmed to receive this award, and although the interview and the presentations were nerve racking, it makes it all worthwhile and it will definitely enhance my CV! We are hoping that the award to the College can be used to encourage and reward the students submitting farm business management assignments and projects in the future. It is encouraging to know that we are getting quality tuition at Harper and our thanks go to Tony for his support and encouragement throughout this module.” David Hope won the Bronze Award.