MATT Bagley has been appointed head of Askham Bryan College’s four farms.

Formerly head of agriculture at the college’s Newton Rigg campus at Penrith, his new role of Head of Farms puts him in charge of 880 hectares of everything from hill farming and dairying to lowland arable at the college’s Yorkshire and Cumbrian farms.

The position includes the new Sheep Husbandry Training Centre and state-of-the-art dairy unit in Cumbria and the Agri Tech centre at York.

Catherine Dixon, college chief executive, said: “Matt is a farmer and experienced college lecturer. He works closely with the farming community and is greatly respected by all.

“He will also be the college’s ambassador to rural communities and the agricultural industry at regional and national levels so that best practice and the latest innovations are reflected in how we run our farms and in student learning. He will be assisted by farm managers at the York and Penrith centres.”

The appointment comes at the start of the academic year which sees more than 400 students enrolling on agriculture, land-based engineering and countryside courses.

Askham Bryan is also a recognised centre of excellence for apprenticeship learning with more than 230 young people studying agriculture.

Mr Bagley joined the college in January 2013 and has played a key part in the development of the £3m dairy unit and the recently opened Sheep Husbandry Training Centre at the Cumbrian base.

He also sits on a number of national committees including the National Sheep Association and the Sheep Vet Society and the Upland Alliance.

Commenting on his new role he said: “I am delighted to be taking on this significant position and relish the opportunity to take forward greater integration between our two main agricultural centres, as well as maximising student involvement in the farms.”

The college’s farm facilities involve Westfield Farm and Home Farm, totalling 280 hectares at York where the Lance Gilling Agri Tech Centre opened in January as a focus for agriculture and engineering courses.

The farms have a 240 Holstein and Holstein cross milking herd with 160 followers; 300 breeding ewes – Texel and Mule X; potatoes, wheat, barley, oil seed rape, maize and grassland; and a 3,000 tonne silage clamp which was installed last year.

Newton Rigg College was acquired in 2011. It has two farms, Sewborwens and Low Beckside, totalling 400 hectares, 200 hectares under a grazing agreement and 3,300 hectares of common grazing on the fell.

A recognised national showcase for upland farming, it is the only college to have its own hill farm – Low Beckside. It’s £3m dairy unit opened in March 2014 and the Sheep Husbandry Training Centre opened in June 2017.

The Cumbrian farms have about 1,000 ewes plus lambs, including 350 pure Swalesdales hefted to the fell and 300 Mules; 60 Luing cattle including 27 suckler cows. Spring barley, winter wheat and forage maize are grown at Sewborwens Farm with grassland grazing at Low Beckside.