A Newton Rigg College student has set out her concerns for the future of farming.
MPs are set to grill bosses of the college near Penrith about the closure during a one-day inquiry in Parliament on Tuesday.
Rachel Hewitt, aged 17, who is in her final year of an agricultural level three course, is worried about the future..
She said: “Obviously our teachers said something was going on last year and that it might be closing but that someone could take it over.
“Cumbria is a very agricultural county and there will be no college for young people to come and get tickets for clipping, quad biking, things like that.
“Newton Rigg allows you to do this work.
“The closest place would be Myerscough College in Preston or Askham Bryan College in York itself.
“I live near Appleby, so it is a long way to go.”
Rachel is concerned for students who have more of their course ahead of them.
“It is all up in the air for them, they won’t know what to do,” she added.
“They might have to move to a different college and their learning will be disrupted and they might not be doing something that will be right for them.”
The student raised questions about the handling of the whole process.
“I feel like as students we have been kept in the dark, no one has been saying what is going on,” she said.
“We were told it might be saved, then it might not be. I don’t think it has been handled very well, they haven’t really given people much chance.
“I think it will have a big impact if people have to move away to study, it might put people off,” she said.
“People go from travelling 20 minutes to having to travel hours to get their education.
“Cumbria is a big county and one of the main agricultural counties.
“It should be saved, it shouldn’t even be a thought that it is closing.”
Rachel said the farming conditions in Cumbria are completely different to those elsewhere, leaving a void other education providers will struggle to fill.
Rachel’s father David is a third-generation farmer in Crosby Ravensworth.
He said: “I think it will have a horrendous impact. It will have such a big impact I don’t know how to say it.
“There is nowhere else that teaches this kind of thing.
“The younger generation will not be able to get out to do the things they need to be doing, like the quad bikes, spraying, clipping.
“Take the sheep unit, for example, there are no fells around York, so they can’t teach fell work.
“It is a crying shame. Askham College can’t teach upland farming like Newton Rigg can.
“They will have to go somewhere else not as beneficial to them.”
David is concerned that the closure of Newton Rigg may force young farmers out of the county.
“It is the worry we have here, that the younger farmers will have to go on to different courses,” he said.
“There are lots coming from Wales and Scotland to learn, that must be saying something about Newton Rigg. It is one of the top colleges for land-based things in the country. It is so disappointing.”
We have set up a petition to let the MPs know the strength of feeling in the county about Newton Rigg.
We urge everyone to sign it and share it with their family and friends. Tell the national policy makers that the future of farming belongs in Cumbria.