a 20th edition with a particularly feminine allure
After 2 years of interruption due to the Covid pandemic, the Young Breeders School was back as part of the Agricultural Fair of Battice on September 3 and 4 and it was its 20th anniversary. 123 young people of 17 different nationalities participated, and among them, 61% were girls.
The Young Breeders School (YBS) welcomed these young Holstein enthusiasts to train in the preparation of show animals and the specificities of the breed from August 31 to September 4.
The 5-days training was provided in 4 languages and organised by the awé groupe in collaboration with the Agricultural Fair of Battice. During the first 3 days, all these young breeders invested themselves in setting up a stand bearing the image of their nation and followed theoretical courses on classification, marketing and also the proper conduct during a competition. In addition to these theoretical courses, they were guided by a team of 8 leaders, including 3 new ones (Jonathan Lehoux - Canada, Vki Singh - Italy and Devon Lohmöller - Germany) to learn how to properly prepare and care for heifers for competitions. 22 farms from all over Wallonia had lent 138 quality heifers for this purpose.
These 3 days of training were followed by 2 days of competition allowing everyone to highlight the intense work provided sofar.
On Saturday, each candidate had to present his heifer the best way possible for the Holstein conformation competition. Ten series were presented and finally Roulette de l’Herbagère de l’Herbagère-Moureaux, led by Romain Favre from Switzerland, was consecrated Champion. EHB Sybelle AXL from the breeding of Emmanuel Boutry, led by Alois Boutry from the WalHolstein Club 1 team (Belgium) was elected Reserve Champion. Finally, ZUBIDA Red de la Garde-Dieu, owned by Christophe Piron and led by Maria Sole Oppici from Italy, won the Mention award.
The prize for the Best Heifer Exhibitor was awarded to Emmanuel Boutry.
On Sunday, it was the leader's turn to be judged at the Showmanship. Attitude, gaze, position, direction, everything was closely scrutinized by the official Canadian judge Martial Lemire, sent by Holstein Quebec to follow all the competitions.
To mark the occasion for this 20th anniversary, the organizers had pulled out all the stops thanks in particular to exceptional support from the Wallonia-Brussels Federation: a new logo (competition launched in 2021 and won by Alexandre Blaise from the Athénée Royale Hautes Fagnes in Malmedy ), a live broadcast of the award ceremony on Facebook live, a spotlight on two families, the Drouguet family and the Heynen family, who since the creation of the School have welcomed young people without ever missing a single editing, ….
The icing on the cake, Marc Comtois from the Comestar breeding farm, a Canadian breeder famous throughout the world and guest of honor at this 20th edition, came all the way from Canada to share a moment with the young trainees. Two conferences were also open to breeders: one in Battice on Thursday evening and the other one in Ciney on Friday afternoon. More than 120 breeders came to listen to him.
The 2022 winners
The awards ceremony took place on Sunday at 3:00 p.m, under the gaze of the visitors of the Battice Fair but also of families of young people abroad who followed the event on Facebook. The ceremony began with a few speeches: Alain Hogge, Managing Director of the awé groupe, recounted some of the highlights of these 20 editions and Pierre Creppe, Manager of the Young Breeders School, thanked the 37 host families, the Fair of Battice and all the volunteers, the sponsors, the breeders for the loan of their heifers, the trainers, and also the staff of the awé groupe.
At the end of these speeches, it was time to unveil the winners... and for the first time in the history of the Young Breeders School, only young ladies were on the podium: Maria Sole Oppici from Italy in first position, who had already distinguished herself in 2018 by winning the prize of best presenter at the Showmanship, Alexandra Labbe from Canada in 2nd position, and Katharina Mock from the Phönix Group 1 team (Germany), in 3rd place.
The 1st Belgian arrives in 8th position. This is Julien Sprumont, from the Wal'holstein Club 1 team, who also won the prize for Best Young Walloon.
The prize for the best young breeder under 16 is awarded to 14-years-old Eleonora OITANA (Italy).
4 other prizes were on the list :
Best judge : Benjamin Perrin (ST Genetics France)
Best clipper : Davide Bertoletti (Italy)
Best leader (Presenter) : Alexandra Labbe (Canada)
Prize of the leaders (trainers) : Marcis Petrauskis (Latvia). This prize is awarded by the trainers to the most “deserving” young breeder.
A prize is also awarded to the best team (exhibition bearing the image of their region, management and presentation of the stand, teamwork). The team from Phönix Group 1 (Germany) won first place, followed by Switzerland and Wal'holstein Club 1. In 4th position came Italy and in 5th position Wal'holstein Club 2. The 2 Walloon teams came in the top 5, which is a good performance. With their stand in the colors of Belgium which echoed this 20th edition, visitors to the Fair of Battice were impressed!
Even if we have to designate winners, all these young breeders have been enriched by this unique experience in Belgium, delighted to have had the opportunity to challenge with other young people from all over the world, sharing the same passion, but having different culture and working habits. Exchanges with the host family were also very interesting and enriching moments.
With 20 years of experience, YBS has gradually become an international reference in terms of competition preparation school. A well-established organization based on the Battice Agricultural Fair, a multilingual training provided by a team of professional and internationally renowned trainers, quality heifers lent by breeders, a warm welcome in a region with multiple assets. These are the ingredients of a great successful event.
This 20th edition was a great success and the organizers would like to thank everyone who contributed to the success of the event. On the way to the 21st edition…
Avec le soutien de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles