Husbandry centre given go-ahead to safeguard future.
Byline: FARMING ROBERT GIBSON firstname.lastname@example.org
AVISION to help safeguard the future of hill farming is soon to become reality with the announcement that plans for a sheep husbandry training centre at Newton Rigg College are to go ahead.
The centre will be built at the Cumbrian college's uplands farm and will be a national showcase for the best hill farming practice, ensuring the industry's future workforce and leaders have the key skills they need.
The PS430,000 project will based at Low Beckside Farm in Mungrisdale.
Existing buildings will be demolished to construct a new sheep husbandry centre, which will be a steelportal-framed building measuring 36m x 25m x 2.95m, with Yorkshire boarding and a fibre cement roof.
New areas of hard standing will also be provided to aid sheep handling, and improvements to the silage clamp.
Robinsons Scotland Ltd has been awarded the contract and work is expected to begin later this month. It is set to be complete by September.
The centre will be used predominantly for practical teaching.
It 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, the centre will host farm events and demonstration activities within uplands agriculture and sheep management to show best practice and encourage professional development.
Low Beckside Farm is home to two flocks - a Swaledale flock of 350 ewes which are hefted to the fell at Mungrisdale and a draft flock - that is, older ewes from the fell flock - which are kept on land at Low Beckside and Redmire.
Campus principal Wes Johnson said: "Our vision is that Newton Rigg College will become the UK hub for training and education in uplands land management and sheep husbandry, which will not only benefit students but the UK hill farming industry as a whole.
"This new centre will enable us to demonstrate the best modern hill farming practice with high standards of animal welfare and hygiene and provide the future workforce with key hill farming skills.
"The UK uplands are a vital part not only of our countryside and heritage, but of British agriculture, and this initiative will help ensure the future viability of this important farming sector." Newton Rigg is the only college in England to have its own hill farm. It
<BA sheep husbandry training centre is to be created at Low Beckside Farm