A tremendous day was had by all at the launch of SYD, the Beef Shorthorn Youth Development initiative.

Held at Appleton Mills Farm on the North York Moors, the Gibson family extended a warm welcome to the young people.

Members were split into groups and rotated around four workshops, which were all were hands on activities with the focus on learning by doing.

Halter-making run by Robert Grayson was a firm favourite. His demonstration with a few rapid twists and knots looked impossible at first glance. However, under his clear and patient guidance everyone quickly got the hang of it, with confidence growing step by step.

The Northern Farmer: Beef Shorthorn group – Picture: Alfie Shaw

All came away with halters in hand and were keen to get home to make more, with several commenting on how Christmas was sorted.

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Drew Hyslop delivered a workshop on clipping with everyone getting to grips with the trimmers. Luckily for the Whiterose herd, everyone picked it up quickly and there were no cattle with bald patches. This was followed by leading the now immaculate Shorthorns into the ring to practice displaying them to their best advantage and going over showing etiquette.

Reflecting Beef Shorthorn in their best light was also covered in a photography module. Alfie Shaw of Agri-images advised on how to best position an animal and what to think of from a photographer’s perspective.

All learned about lighting conditions, resolution, focus and depth of field to tell a story with the images captured. From individual animal photos in the yard, to a walk through the herd in the field, everyone learnt how to approach animals safely to get some fantastic natural shots.

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More importantly, everyone grew in confidence and understood better how to use their own phones and cameras to get shots that best reflected their stock to promote their own herds. With social media becoming an integral part of everyday life having good photographs will be key to the success of the next generation.

Most people felt that they were not natural artists so the thought of painting a Beef Shorthorn filled most with dread before the painting workshop. Local artist Joyce Buzeman swiftly put people at ease. Starting with a blank canvas, Joyce stripped back the process to simple steps and coached everyone on the process of building up a sketch and then water colour painting step by step.

After lunch, Amanda and Joe from Morrisons took the group through how the Morrisons scheme works and assesses output. Carcase weights and marbling of fat were outlined, and it led to a very productive question and answer session with future breeders soaking up all the information.

The day ended with a farm walk. Johnny and Hannah Gibson took the group round their newly-established herd and described how they had started at Appleton Mills. With a variety of stock from bloodlines like Mayfield, Millerston and the original Appleton herd, they have produced some fabulous calves.

The overwhelming message from the day was ‘believe and you can achieve’.