The World Angus Forum in Scotland was one of the most amazing opportunities I have been granted within the Angus beef industry. I am grateful for the opportunity Angus Australia enabled myself, Kait, Angus and Chloe to travel to Scotland to the World Forum to compete in the youth competition and to represent Angus Australia. I made valued networks with international delegates and representatives as well as broadening my knowledge on current issues faced worldwide.
Upon arrival both Red Angus Australia and Black Angus Australia came together to explore Edinburgh, including hiking to the top of both Crages and Aurthers Seat. Here we overlooked the amazing city of Edinburgh and experienced the beauty of Scotland with the lush green grass for miles.
Day 1 of our duties commenced Wednesday 21st June where we met with the representatives of the other countries involved in the forum. This included Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Argentina. Here each country presented to the World Delegates about their team, country and youth involvements and programs in the Angus Breed of their country. Following this, there was the welcome reception where the official opening of the forum began.
Day 2- Thursday 22nd June, we travelled to the Royal Highland Show. Here we had the opportunity to explore the show and watch the Angus judging, as well as interact with the breeders at the show. It was great to compare the judging and preparation of animals for the show ring differs to in Australia.
Day 3- Friday 23rd June, we travelled to north Dundee to the Marine Army base for team building activities. Here we were spilt up in groups amongst the other countries youth representatives to complete each task set by the marines including challenges both physical and mental which required team work and communication.
We completed a series of activities, which involved intellectual ability, communication and command roles as well as physically challenging activities in the cold mud!
Following this, in the evening we travelled to the Murrayfield Stadium for the “touch of Scotch evening” where we were greeted upon arrival with bagpipes and some Scottish dancing. The dinner was some of Scotland’s specialty meals including haggis and black pudding.
Day 4- Saturday 24th June, we returned to the Royal Highland Show this time as one of our first competitions, which was stock judging. Here we each had a species to judge four classes of. Angus judged the lambs, Chloe the dairy cattle, Kait the horses and I judged the beef cattle. It was amazing to be apart of the Royal Highland Show young judges competition with the many young individuals whom travelled long distances to participate in the event. It was also great to experience how the young judges competition is run in Scotland and also represent Australia in how we judge, speak and our desired animal selection.
After the judging competition we headed out to Mosshall Red Angus on a farm tour. We took a look through both Red Angus and Black Angus herds as well as the commercial cattle. It is a credit to the breeders of their consistent herd.
Day 5- Sunday 25th June, on this day listened to some inspirational delegates at the conference talk about “from Consumption to Conception” with personal views and concepts as well as emerging technologies to assist with the rising demand of the product as well as increasing efficiency. Following this we then broke off into our team and had only a couple of hours to construct a team presentation, which we then presented to the other youth representatives with the topic of “How can technology empower Angus producers to capitalize on new opportunities”. It was amazing to listen to so many young people alike ourselves so passionate in the industry with some strong points.
Day 6- Monday 26th June, this was another day we spent at the conference listening to international delegates present reports, studies, emerging products and other fascinating topics. It was amazing to sit and absorb differences between countries and think about what we already do in Australia, that makes us a step ahead of some of the other countries.
The evening was our main Gala dinner, which was held at the National Museum of Scotland. This evening was a fantastic time and I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to talk and discuss with the international delegates. Here we heard for the first time the historic Angus song “An Angus For Me” which was sung by William McLaren Snr. I thoroughly enjoyed this evening, and was one of my highlights of the trip!
Day 7- Tuesday 27th June, here we travelled to the Borders Farm and assessed some live cattle where we had to estimate live weight, and the EUROP grading system.
We then travelled to the ‘Borders Union Showground’ where we participated in the AgriSkills events. For this there were several stations which we rotated through, all mainly with a primary purpose of performing the task safely and efficiently.
This included a motorbike course, varying tractor activities, catching 20 heifers and tying them up, building a rock wall and flag identification. This was followed by one member of each team putting a dog through an agility course that was a fun end to the afternoon.
That evening at the end of the Agriskills, at the showground we had the ‘taste of borders buffet’, which displayed some Scottish foods buffet style. This evening was full of Scottish dancing and fun for everyone.
Day 7- Wednesday 28th June, on this morning we started our day off with a tour of Grahams dairy from the arrival of the truck and milk drop off, right through to the individual products made, packaging and packing the final product into the trucks to be taken to the stores.
We then moved on and toured the Cherrybank herd in Perth. It was fantastic to see a commercial herd operation and gain insight into how the commercial set up is commonly based in Scotland. Following this we travelled to Fordel farms for a cattle herd tour of their amazing functional and consistent Angus herd.
Day 8- Thursday 29th June – we began our day by travelling to Ballindalloch castle. Here we spent the day touring the cattle, the castle and the gardens. Unfortunately it was pouring rain and a cold summers day in Scotland however the views and magnificent history of Ballindalloch made the experience well worth it.
Following this in the evening we had another delegates Highland dinner with even more Scottish food and of course some more dancing!
Day 9- Friday 30th June – This day we travelled to Scottbeef to see the carcasses that we had previously completed a live assessment on, up on hook to compare our predictions and to participate in some meat judging and meat cuts competition.
I thoroughly enjoyed touring through Scottbeef, to view the processing as well as the meat judging and quality assessing. Again to view from a different countries perspective was an eye opening experience I am grateful to have had.
Following this for the afternoon we travelled to Netherton Farms, Blackford to be drawn out of the hat and matched to our two Angus heifers which we would then use for competition in the coming days.
Day 10- Saturday 1st July- This day was spent at Netherton farms preparing our two heifers for Sunday’s competition. We also had the opportunity to have a brief farm and cattle tour and of the amazing facilities on farm.
Day 11- Sunday 2nd July – This was a very sad day for everyone as the World Angus Forum for us was coming to a close. It was our final day of competition, which we had as cattle fitting/preparing, junior showmanship/parading where I was placed 2nd, and presentation of our animals and team preparation to the delegates.
To wrap up this competition we had a finale dinner held at Nertherton Angus where the results of the competition overall were also announced. This day was another highlight for me, as it was the final competition where we also learnt a lot about each countries idea of an “Ideal Animal” and of course heard the “An Angus for Me” song for the last time which by now we all had learnt to join in. The night ended with many friendships, a good laugh and of course some Scottish dancing!
This was a once in a lifetime opportunity that words cannot describe for me. I made so many valuable networks and friends in the Angus breed World Wide all passionate about producing Angus cattle and passionate to be involved within the breed, particularly in the youth.
I would like to sincerely thank all those involved with the organization, farm tours, Netherton Angus, Aberdeen Angus Society, The Angus Australia Society for enabling myself and the other team members to travel to Scotland and represent Angus Australia with pride, our amazing sponsors whose support we appreciate so greatly (QLD State Committee, Bald Blair Angus, Ray White Livestock Guyra, Ramage Engineering, Bowenfels Angus and Landmark Guyra), the youth delegates from all around the world and of course my fellow team mates.
Thank you to everyone for this amazing opportunity to represent Angus Australia with pride.
Feature Image: Jasmin Ramage during the AgriSkills classes