Blackbellys’ special Branch
The Acting Senior Superintendent of Police walked away with more than ten prizes in four of the five livestock shows during last weekend’s agricultural exhibit in Queen’s Park.
Dominating in the Blackbelly sheep class, he won Best No-teeth Blackbelly Ram, took home all three top prizes in the four-teeth category and also the Best Blackbelly Ram On Show. He placed second among the No-teeth Blackbelly Ewes, third in the two-teeth, won all the top prizes in the four-teeth category and earned Best Ewe On Show.
Branch told the DAILY NATION he could not get them ready for show without the support of his family. He said winning was testament to the hard work his children and grandchildren were putting in, and he encouraged other youngsters to get involved in farming.
“I feel good, I’m happy but special mention must go to the guys that help IAN BRANCH won all the top prizes in the Four-teeth Blackbelly Sheep /Ram category. Here, he (left) poses with the winning rams and his son Dwayne Marshall (right) and assistant Daquon Cordner.
me,” he said. “My wife and daughter would help me clean the pig pens and all the little ones would get on board and help too. I can’t say what exactly attracted the little ones, but I guess they came along and saw me doing it and also because it is in their blood.”
Help from rival
Branch also made special mention of his usual rival Steven Watson, who did not participate in the show due to illness, revealing that Watson gave him some of the animals with which he won categories.
The lawman, who began farming in February 1979, said he bought his first pig from his first pay cheque. He said pigs were his first love and ten years later, he also got into sheep rearing. He won the first and third prize in the pig competition in the Landrace category.
One of the sows on show this year made her first appearance at Agrofest four years ago as a piglet Though the 59-year-old has enjoyed competing at Agrofest every year, he said he was not totally satisfied about the prizes.
“The prize money really isn’t anything when compared to the hard work that goes into preparing the animals. I believe the winners should be also getting incentives like feed, hay or halters.”
Branch, who hails from Upper Carlton, St James, also shared a few of his secret techniques when preparing the animals for the show. He said he walked them along the street as people do their dogs, noting that frequent exercise kept the animals in good health. He added it also helped them train for walking in the ring.
“To all youngsters who may be interested in farming, I want you to know that it takes (standing third left)
posing with the Best Blackbelly Ram and Ewe on show, along with his biological and farming family, and Agrofest officials.
(Pictures by Lennox Devonish.)
IAN BRANCH with one of his rams as judges (from left) Blaire Alleyne, John Vaughn and Cicero Lallo inspect the animals.
by SHERIA BRATHWAITE
FOR IAN BRANCH, the farmer who won best Blackbelly ram and ewe on show at this year’s Agrofest, there is more to winning than bragging rights.
IAN BRANCH with his top beef bull in the Under-12-Months category.
tremendous commitment and dedication. And it’s not all about the money but the overall love for animals.
“The beef bull that won me first place in the Under-12 Months category was bottlefed by my whole family. Its mother died when it gave birth, so when he won, it brought tears to my eyes.”
Wife Judy, who usually cooks for the entire Agrofest farming community, said she was proud of her husband’s achievements.