2014-01-31   facebook twitter rss

Official Opening Announced for State of the Art College Dairy Unit

The official opening of the £2.4m state of the art dairy at Newton Rigg College, Penrith, Cumbria takes place on Friday 21 March.

Lord Curry of Kirkharle is the guest speaker and will officially open the unit which is based at the college's Sewborwens Farm. This will be followed by the blessing of the herd by the Bishop of Carlisle, the Right Revd James Newcome.

Lord Curry is a familiar figure in the British farming. He chaired the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food reporting to government in January 2002 and was responsible for overseeing the government’s Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food until March 2009.

Lord Curry is a familiar figure in the British farming. He chaired the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food reporting to government in January 2002 and was responsible for overseeing the government’s Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food until March 2009.

Around 400 invited guests are expected to attend, including representatives from the Cumbrian farming and rural community as well as national figures, business representatives, college governors, staff and students.

Liz Philip, Principal of Askham Bryan College which took over the running of Newton Rigg in August 2011 said: “The significance of the opening of our new dairy unit cannot be under estimated, both on a national and regional scale. We promised to put agriculture back at the heart of Newton Rigg and this flagship dairy is tangible proof of that commitment. Our vision is that it will become a centre for dairy excellence, providing a national focus for learning and best practice. Our students will gain a unique insight into the industry, gaining sound business management skills as well as hands on experience working in the most modern dairy in the UK. Once again we have already seen the number of students studying agriculture more than double which bodes well for the future of farming.”

The unit comprises two buildings, one to house the cows, and the other for the 30:30 Fullwood Quick S parlour. A dry cow unit, handling facility and fresh cow housing pens complete the new site. A viewing platform will enhance the tours which are planned for interested groups and individuals, including for prospective students. Maximum animal health and welfare and efficiency of operation lie at the heart of the design, which includes numerous environmental features. In terms of water management, the college has worked with the Eden Rivers Trust to ensure that successful commercial farming operates hand in hand with sound environmental practice.

The event is particularly poignant as almost exactly 13 years ago, in 2001, in common with many farms in the North West, Newton Rigg lost its herd to Foot and Mouth Disease. It was not replaced until autumn last year when the Cockermouth-based Tallent Holstein herd was purchased from Anthony Brough, marking the re-birth of the college herd.

Newton Rigg College

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