Work is well underway at Newton Rigg College’s hill farm as the new sheep husbandry training centre takes shape.
The steel framed building is being constructed at Low Beckside Farm, Mungrisdale and will be a national showcase for the best hill farming practice, ensure young people have the key skills they need as the industry’s future leaders and workforce, and provide a focal point as a demonstration farm.
The Centre is at the heart of the farmstead and will be used throughout the year, particularly for students’ practical teaching. The college has two flocks - a Swaledale flock of 350 ewes which are hefted to the fell and a draft flock.
The Centre will be the focus for the college’s lambing operations, a base for sheep shearing and for general sheep husbandry.
Alongside the specialist courses for students, it will host farm events and demonstration activities within uplands agriculture and sheep management to show best practice and encourage professional development. There will be additional construction work providing new areas of hard standing to aid sheep handling, and improvements to the silage clamp.
Wes Johnson, Campus Principal said: “It is great to see the building taking shape and becoming a reality. We are very much a college which works in partnership with the local farming and rural community and we are already planning a number of uses for the Centre by outside organisations as well as for our student learning and flock husbandry.”
The project has been supported by the Cumbria LEP, through the Skills Funding Agency and Cumbrian farmers have had input as members of the college’s Technical Advisory Group. Support has also been given by the Cumbria Farmer Network, Lake District National Park, NFU, CLA and Cumbria YFC.