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Date: 22nd January 2013

A new Head of Agriculture has been appointed for Newton Rigg College in Cumbria. Matthew Bagley takes on the role with a broad range of skills and experience across both the farming and education sectors.

Newton Rigg is one of the fastest growing colleges in the country specialising in land-based courses in agriculture, countryside management, gamekeeping, forestry, horticulture and engineering, all of which will come under Mr Bagley's auspices.

In August 2011, Askham Bryan College took over the running of Newton Rigg from the University of Cumbria, pledging to put land-based education back at its heart.

Announcing the appointment, Wes Johnson, College Principal said: "I am delighted to welcome Matt to the Newton Rigg team. We have sought long and hard for the right person for this extremely important role, and I know he will be pivotal to our education of the farmers and agri business leaders of tomorrow."

A hill farmer and sheep specialist by background, Mr Bagley joins  from Reaseheath College where he has worked for the last eight years, most recently as Programme Leader for the Agriculture and Sheep Unit.

An active member of the National Sheep Association, last year Mr Bagley was elected to the organisation's English committee. In addition, his work with the Liverpool Vet School has broadened his knowledge in this sector. He is also currently working on a number of sheep trials with ADAS. Mr Bagley has undertaken health planning training across NW England for the RDPE Enterprise delivery hub and is a member of the Beef and Sheep Steering Group. He is also a member of the Sheep Vet Society.

Mr Bagley said: " With the pressures of providing food for the world's growing population,the challenges for tomorrow's farmers cannot be underestimated. Working with young people to provide first class education across the land-based sector is not only a privilege, but vital to the success of Britain's agricultural industry and efficient food production."

Mr Bagley joins the staff against an exciting backdrop, with recent announcements of a £3m investment in the campus and the college farms, beginning with a new dairy unit and the re-introduction of a dairy herd. Work is expected to begin on the unit within the next few months.

Plans for the college's Low Beckside Farm, Mungrisedale include development of new sheep housing and training facilities. The college's 1,100 flock of Fell, Draft and Lowland ewes will also benefit from Matthew's experience and knowledge.

Other new initiatives include, the National Centre for Uplands which was announced by the College in December, and the national initiative, Fresh Start will run its first Uplands Academy at Newton Rigg, beginning in February (2013). Fresh Start is supported by The Prince's Countryside Fund.

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Newton Rigg College,
CA11 0AH
01768 893400