The Virginia Young Handlers Workshop was held on Sunday 29th May in the Virginia Show Centre. The day included a mixed breed involvement which was a great element to add to the workshop. All Societies involved included; Hereford, Aberdeen Angus, Limousin and Charolais. There were Hereford, Charolais, Limousin and commercial cattle on display on the day along with sheep.

The event was very well supported with over 60 young people getting involved. The Virginia Show Centre was the ideal location given the facilities available there.

The agenda consisted of breaking the group into six smaller groups and rotating between six different workshop stations. The agenda for the day involved;

Alan Shortt gave a demonstration on clipping cattle – where and how to clip different animals to show off their best points.

Catherine Smyth, Elanor O’Reilly and John Smyth gave a hands on workshop on how to handle cattle, how to lead them in the showring and what is involved in getting cattle to the showring.

Every young person was given the opportunity to actually walk and handle an animal in the manner that they would be expected in the show ring but also just to get a feel for it.

The younger group were given combs and were shown how to brush up animals.

Jim Dockery from the FRS was also present and gave a demonstration on health and safety on the farm and when handling cattle. Jim also gave an engageing demo on how to change the wheel of a trailer and all the do’s and don’ts involved.

During the day there was also a demonstration on how to clip and dress sheep for the showring.

Bartley Finnegan also ran a station where he discussed and advised on what products are good to use on animals in preparation for the showring.

Niall Lynch and Shane Murphy from the Aberdeen Angus Association gave a demo on how to take good photographs of cattle to show off the animals best points and make them look their best for shows and sales. They also gave a talk on how to use Social Media to build brands and promote.

Teagasc and Dundalk IT also had a stand on the day and were discussing with young people the agricultural courses that are available in college for students after school.

Many thanks to Willie Smith, Adam Woods (the Irish Farmers Journal), Jim Harrison & the Irish Shows Association, The Virginia Show Committee, all the demonstrators, all the volunteers, all the Breed Societies involved and to each of the participants who attended the day and making it a great success.

We look forward to working with all of the above again in the future to host young breeder events.

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