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NFU president joins campaign to save Newton Rigg

The national president of the National Farmers’ Union is supporting the campaign to save Newton Rigg College.

Minette Batters said institutions like Newton Rigg were essential to educate the farmers of tomorrow and has backed Penrith and the Border MP Dr Neil Hudson in his fight to save the college.

Operators Askham Bryan revealed last year that it would no longer be offering courses at the college and two bids to take on the campus did not meet the requirements to take it over, according to a Government strategic review.

Dr Hudson and MPs from across the region wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ask him to back he campaign to secure a viable future for the college.

Mrs Batters said: “I was very happy to support Neil’s campaign to save Newton Rigg College.

“I will give Neil all my support to help save Newton Rigg. Agricultural Colleges like Newton Rigg have a massive role to play in levelling up rural Britain.

“The British farming industry needs Newton Rigg and I urge everyone to work together with Government to secure a smooth transition to a new provider.

“Importantly, Newton Rigg can play a role in achieving the Government’s net-zero and environmental goals as those educated there will be the ones implementing and driving the necessary changes in the years to come.”

There is now a short window of opportunity when interested parties can resubmit a proposal to the Department for Education’s Further Education Commissioner, ensuring that they are compliant with the necessary criteria.

Dr Hudson is working with stakeholders in this process of resubmission.

Dr Neil Hudson said: “I am delighted to have the support of Minette Batters and the NFU as the future of Newton Rigg enters a crucial stage.

“The local and regional NFU have always been very supportive of my campaign to save Newton Rigg and I am thrilled that Minette has added her national voice.

“The NFU is an influential organisation in the agricultural sector, with over 55,000 members and having them lend their voice adds to the groundswell of local opinion that is opposed to the closure of the college.

“Cumbrian and British farming needs Newton Rigg.

“Our fight continues and I continue to call on Askham Bryan College to work with stakeholders and Government to facilitate the survival of Newton Rigg run by a new provider.”