Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has announced the 2023 Breeder’s Choice class for this year’s showing season. Following on from the success of the inaugural year of the class in 2022, Minister McConalogue announced that €50,000 will again be made available as prizemoney for the class.
Between 2022 and 2026, Minister has committed to investing €250,000 in the grassroots showing sector through the new class aimed at showcasing the best of beef breeding heifers. The class is again being administered by the Irish Shows Association (ISA).
The “Breeder’s Choice” class is open to four and five breeding heifers in two separate classes – traditional breeds and continental breeds. Pedigree as well as commercial heifers are eligible for the classes. Over the course of the summer, more than 60 shows will benefit from the new class.
The requirement for four and five star in-calf or maiden heifers aligns to the aims of the incoming Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP) in the next CAP to increase the number of these heifers in the suckler herd. Four- and five-star animals in the suckler herd can bring greater milk as well as overall efficiency to beef animals.
Commenting on his continued support of the show sector, Minister McConalogue said, “the show network is the backbone of so many agri and rural communities. The show season is upon us and the excitement of getting an animal ready for your local show is hard bet. What is even more exciting is taking home a yellow, red or blue rosette. These are the marks of what makes a good animal a great animal.”
“I was blown away from the success of the Breeder’s Choice in 2022. From a standing start, more than 60 shows participated in the class and I know that through the great work of the Irish Shows Association that we will have even more taking part this year.
“I’m delighted to continue to work with the Irish Shows Association on this exciting, multi-year and long-term investment. This is a commitment from me and my department to the Shows sector, to the quality of breeding cattle and to rural Ireland as a whole. I am looking forward to see the heifers and their owners in the new Breeder’s Class at Shows across the country.”
Jim Harrison, secretary of the Irish Shows Association welcomed the announcement by the Minister, “we are delighted to again partner with the Minister and the department on this exciting new initiative. It will see a major investment made in our network of shows. It gives farmers, breeders and handlers great confidence in the show circuit going forward with this initial five-year investment in the Breeder’s Choice class. I now urge all farmers and handlers to get their quality four- and five-star heifers out and into their local show this summer to avail of this exciting new showing class.”