The Ovine Olympics for Young Shepherds are an opportunity to find out what being an ovine livestock farmer is actually about through discussions with professionals and students actually getting their hands dirty: sorting ewes using a smartphone, assessing a ewe’s health, handling a sheep and assessing its physique, trimming its toenails, assessing the fattening of lambs and selecting a breeding ram.
The Ovine Olympics for Young Shepherds are evidence of the sector's willingness to get people interested in it so that new ewe livestock farmers can set up throughout France, ensuring that there will be people to take over from the current generation.
For the 14th edition, the Ovine Olympics for Young Shepherds will feature three highlights:
- The regional finals. Held between November 2018 and February 19 in 21 regions by various professional organisations in partnership with agricultural teaching colleges, they are supervised by panels made up of teachers, breeders and technicians, and will be used to short-list the 2 best candidates from each region.
- The national finals at the Paris International Agricultural Show. The 36 best candidates selected from regions throughout the country, all aged between 16 and 24 years old, will go head-to-head in the grand ring of hall 1, the aim being to embody the spirit of sheep rearing and win the title of 2017 Best Young French Shepherd.
- The Olympiades des Métiers (world skills competition), which is the world's biggest competition for young people and professional training, seeking to showcase professional teaching and technical jobs. Six young people competing in the Ovine Olympics for Young Shepherds will go through to the finals in Paris and will qualify to take part in the national Olympiades des Métiers finals.
The Ovine Olympics will be playing in the big league. For the 14th edition, all of the competition's practical heats will be held in the Grand Ring of Hall 1 on Saturday 23rd of february, and will be re-broadcast live on the web. Viewers will also be able to interact live with the competitors via a chat facility.
The Ovine Olympics are also a collective competition. This trial, which tests both students' sheep rearing ability and their communication skills, is an opportunity for students from the same school to put their heads together and think about a different topic every year, and to demonstrate their creativity by putting forward arguments and creating an information document.