WORK has begun on building the country’s first new agricultural college in 50 years.

The £13m project is a result of Bishop Burton College, near Beverley, taking over the reins of Riseholme College.

With limiting short-term leases on the existing site north of Lincoln, a deal was made with the county’s agricultural society to relocate Riseholme to a new college campus within Lincolnshire showground site.

At a recent turf-cutting ceremony, Jeanette Dawson, principal and chief executive of Bishop Burton, thanked the society and the county in general for the enthusiastic support they had given the plans.

“What better place for a land-based college to be sited than at an agricultural showground that is thriving?” she said.

“We believe this is the first land-based college to be built in 50 years, which pays testament to our commitment and determination to support the industry in Lincolnshire and beyond.

“A new campus will provide state-of-the-art facilities and allow for closer links with Lincolnshire’s thriving agricultural community, while engendering even closer relationships with agri-business and agri-food industries.”

John Lockwood, chairman of Lincolnshire Agricultural Society, said: “Riseholme is a strong and vibrant agricultural college that has turned out some wonderful farmers.

“It’s marvellous for our county to have a brand new farming college in this, the premiere farming county in England.

“The first-class educational facilities that Jeanette and her team are sure to deliver will provide us with the next generation of farmers, farm staff and advisers.

“I look forward to a number of synergies between the college and the agricultural society. I can’t wait for September 2015 when the new college will open.

“This is an exciting time to be involved in agriculture.”

Irmgard Parrott, chair of West Lindsey District Council, said: “To build a new campus here on the showground is like strawberries and cream, the perfect combination. Agriculture is a key part of our county’s economic strategy.”

The Skills Funding Agency will provide more than £6m of grant funding towards the £13m scheme.

Apart from classrooms, science labs, and an animal management facility, the college will have agriculture, engineering and arboriculture workshops, a learning resources centre, refectory, and facilities for administration, student services and staff.

There will also be student residential accommodation.