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Find out what's new in BASIS and our various schemes, and keep up to date with current industry developments. Or, select a date in the news archive to search through previous articles.

BASIS Trainer & Examiner Seminars 2017

In October 2017 we are going to hold a number of trainer and examiner seminars around the country to highlight the new courses and developments which have recently been introduced.

BASIS CPD Points will be available for attending this event. We hope to see you there.

Please find a list of the scheduled dates below: 

3 October 2017 - Cirencester 
4 October 2017 - Arundel
5 October 2017 - Peterborough 
10 October 2017 - York 
11 October 2017 - Edinburgh 

For more information or to confirm your attendance please contact Sue Mason on 01335 340856 or email her on sue@basis-reg.co.uk 

Barrie Orme Shield Winner 2016

Sally Morris, an agronomist with Farmacy has been awarded the prestigious Barrie Orme Shield for being the top performing student in the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection in 2016.

Sally grew up on the 350 acre, all arable family farm near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire where she developed a passion for crops and agronomy. She gained a first class degree in crop science at Sutton Bonington, University of Nottingham in 2015. During her degree course she undertook eight months work in Australia. Shadowing agronomists ‘down under’ on such issues as drought tolerant and nitrogen efficient wheat and barley varieties reinforced Sally’s passion for arable farming and agronomy.

For the past two years she has participated in the Hutchinson Foundation, run by crop production specialists Hutchinsons. The Foundation has now trained some 60 future agronomists and gaining BASIS qualifications is part of the training.

“I see BASIS training as an essential stepping stone to building a career in agronomy,” says Sally. “The course provides an insight into the principles which underpin successful crop production.”

James Christian Illett was the BASIS accredited trainer who helped Sally through the course, which included a dissertation on a specialist topic. Her chosen topic was to examine the current options for slug control in oilseed rape.

“I recognised that effective slug control is one of the challenges that oilseed rape growers face nowadays and that challenge is being made harder by the increasing pressure to minimise pesticides entering water courses,” says Sally.

Sally returned to the family farm for her dissertation to undertake whole field trials on the current materials available for slug control. Her aim was to compare the efficacy and longevity of the two main options – metaldehyde and ferric oxide.

“Essentially, I set out to see if ferric phosphate is an effective alternative to metaldehyde,” she explains. “From my trials, I established they are equally effective. Therefore, ferric phosphate is a suitable alternative with a much better environmental profile that will reduce the risk of metaldehyde causing spikes in water sources.”

With the basic BASIS qualification under her belt, Sally has already gone on to take FACTS training on crop nutrition and, as we went to press, was eagerly awaiting the results of her FACTS examination.

“I really enjoyed the course. I find crop nutrition fascinating and also recognise that there is much more to learn about the topic.”

More training is high on Sally’s agenda and she is determined to achieve the BASIS Diploma, although she recognises that it will take three or four years.

“Sally is typical of the new breed of agronomists coming into the industry,” said Stephen Jacob, BASIS Chief Executive. “A real enthusiasm not just for learning, but also for developing practical skills that will help farmers to improved efficiency and enhance quality alongside environmental benefits.” 

Roll Out For New Environmental Risk Assessment

Over the last two seasons, many BASIS distributor companies have trialled or been introduced to a new joint initiative from BASIS and the Environment Agency.
This new, risk based approach via a proforma document, has now been accepted by the Environment Agency and is to be rolled out throughout all BASIS stores over this season becoming a compliance issue in 2018.

The Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) is to be completed by the qualified NSK at all registered sites and will mean that the EA will no longer visit your site every 5 years to re-approve it.  Initial inspections and approvals for new or altered sites will continue to be done by the EA to establish site sensitivity, check pollution prevention measures and ensure all drainage and site plans are complete.

A current Emergency Contingency Plan will also be needed along with the ERA to ensure compliance.  These documents will not need to be sent to the EA but will be checked and held by BASIS.

Completion of the ERA will help identify whether the storekeeper needs further Environment Agency advice and guidance or a re-inspection and where action could be taken to reduce environmental risk. 

Please note, the Environment Agency may still choose to visit your store irrespective of the outcome of your risk assessment, if they think it necessary.

For more information please speak to your Assessor during your annual audit or contact the Logistics department stores@basis-reg.co.uk

Soil and Water Management 1000th Candidate

The BASIS Soil and Water Management course goes from strength to strength and the 1000th successful candidate has recently gained the award which enables farmers, agronomists and other advisers to understand the importance of these subjects on topics ranging from reducing pesticide or nutrient loss to managing flood risk. 

The course was developed in conjunction with Silsoe (now Cranfield University) back in 2003. BASIS consultant Paul Singleton (then Managing Director of BASIS) recalls it was developed to meet an increasing need for advisers to look beyond the basics of crop protection and crop nutrition. It was a time when stewardship campaigns, such as The Voluntary Initiative, were becoming important to deliver a broader based protection to the environment, especially water quality. An aspect of farm management that has become more important, not less, over the intervening years. 

The course has proved popular with a broad range of participants. For some advisers with BASIS Crop Protection or FACTS qualifications it is a means of extending their knowledge and the service they deliver to clients. A significant number of farmers are included in the 1,000 successful candidates as they too recognise the important aspects which the course covers. 

The broad objective, according to the syllabus, is that ‘candidates will know the principles governing the maintenance of soil organic matter content, the maintenance of good soil structure and methods for the prevention of erosion by water and air. They must have knowledge of the legal and quasi legal requirements for the protection of soil and air and the maintenance of soil health and clean air.’ 

The course remains relevant as the debate on cultivations continues. Course delegates learn about equipment choice, timing and impact of operations and their potential effects on compaction and erosion. 

As well as candidates, the course is recognised and supported by a range of organisations with a keen interest in the issues of soil management and water protection. 

These Include Natural England and the 1,000th  successful candidate is Wayne Davies, a Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer working in Herefordshire in the River Wye catchment. Wayne decided to take the course partly to extend his own knowledge, but also because an increasing number of farmers he deals with had taken the course. 

“As it is a national qualification and very relevant to my work, the course really appealed to me,” said Wayne who studied for his qualification at Harper Adams University. 

Improving soil health is an essential element of Wayne’s role as a CSFO. 

“Improving soil health is often a vital step to achieving my key objectives of reducing the amount of nutrients, sediment and pesticides entering waterways. 

“The course provided me with just what I wanted to improve my understanding of some of the key issues in both managing soils and water in farmland.” 

Having secured his first BASIS qualification, Wayne is enthusiastic to undertake further training. 

“With so much of my work focused on crop nutrients, I am thinking of taking the FACTS course next,” he said. 

The Soil and Water Management Course has been developed and kept up to date to meet a specific need. However, BASIS Chief Executive Stephen Jacob pointed out that it is also one of the options for those looking to gain the higher qualification of the BASIS Diploma. 

“Whether a member of our Professional Register is primarily interested in crop protection or crop nutrition, this particular course will deliver knowledge that is relevant,” said Mr Jacob.

Fees Frozen for 10th Year in a Row

Membership fees for BASIS PROMPT have been frozen for the 10th year in a row.

More than 4,000 pest technicians are now signed up to the register, which has grown by more than 15 per cent since 2014.

But Stephen Jacob, chief executive, insists the growth of the organisation will not affect an important philosophy.

He said: “BASIS PROMPT has attracted a significant number of new members in a short period of time.

“But we’re not providing the service to make profit and every bit of money we receive from membership fees is used to deliver extra benefits, such as the mobile app we launched last year.

“The digitalisation of certificates for 2017 will reduce our administration costs and that means we can keep fees for next year the same as they’ve been for a decade.”

Fees will remain at £25 + VAT for members of the BPCA, NPTA or local authority controllers and £30 + VAT for non-affiliated technicians.

 

New Marketing and Technical Manager for PROMPT

THE appointment of a marketing and technical manager is set to deliver a further boost to BASIS PROMPT.

Lucy Cottingham will work with the whole of BASIS Registration – the non-profit organisation responsible for training, certification, auditing and standard-setting across a range of agricultural and related land-based industries.

A key part of her role will be to promote the work of PROMPT and its activities to a range of stakeholders, including record numbers of members, and provide technical expertise.

The 29-year-old joins BASIS from Frontier Agriculture, where she worked as an agronomist.

Already a member of the BASIS register, she’s a qualified advisor for FACTS – the body responsible for setting standards, training and accrediting the Continuing Professional Development of those providing nutrient management advice – and has gained the BASIS Diploma in Agronomy.

A graduate of the University of Exeter, she gained a Masters degree from Harper Adams College and is keen to gain the Graduate Diploma in Agronomy with Environmental Management.

Lucy said: “BASIS has been an important part of my career to date so I’m very much looking forward to being a part of the organisation.

“An important part of my job will be to help raise awareness of the register and its importance as a vehicle for professional competence within the pest control industry.”

Stephen Jacob, chief executive of BASIS PROMPT, said: “Lucy will have a key role in developing the profile of the organisation and the service we deliver to our members.

“She also brings practical expertise that’s so important to ensuring we continue the progress we’ve made so far.”

Membership Survey Key to PROMPT Future

MEMBERS of BASIS PROMPT are to be canvassed for their views in the first survey of its kind.

The professional register is out to expand its role and increase its influence within the pest control sector as part of a move to deliver maximum value.

Chief executive Stephen Jacob is keen to see the future of PROMPT led by members themselves and says the survey will be key.

He said: “We’re always thinking of ways to improve and deliver added benefits, but strong feedback from members will ensure we move forward in the right direction.

“We exist for their benefit, so we should do all we can to deliver a powerful and practical service that’s very much focused on the needs of its customers.

“The survey will give them the chance to tell us what we’re doing well, where we can improve and what more they’d like to see.

“By giving members and stakeholders a strong voice, and then listening to it, we can ensure we’re delivering precisely what they want from us.”

Membership soared by almost 1,000 last year – taking the number of pest technicians signed up past the 4,000 milestone for the first time.

Mr Jacob added: “PROMPT is a key initiative which has been expanding year on year and the fact that our membership has grown so rapidly is an illustration of its escalating value.

“But I want to see the register expand its influence within the pest control sector.

“By listening to our members and ensuring the register works as well as it can for them, I’m confident it can go from strength to strength.

“We want to talk to as many members as we can and from as wide a cross-section of the pest control community as possible.

“We’ll find out how they feel about us, what we could be doing better and what they want to see in future.”

The survey will be launched at PestEx, at the ExCeL in London on March 22 and 23 but will remain available to members, both digitally and in print, for several months.

Please follow the link to take part in our survey:

surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MHML29P


Busy Schedule Offers Host of CPD Opportunities

PROMPT members looking to top up their CPD tally at the start of a new year are being urged to take advantage of a busy schedule of activity.

Technicians must gain at least 20 points every year to retain their membership of the register – widely recognised as proof of professional credentials.

The British Pest Control Association’s PestEx exhibition provides an unmissable opportunity with points awarded for attendance as well as for every seminar and demonstration.

The annual free-to-enter event takes place at ExCeL London on Wednesday and Thursday, March 22 and 23.

But the first quarter of the year is a busy time for all types of training activity with a wide range of accredited courses – many of them new for 2017 - workshops, breakfast meetings and Regional Training Forums (RTFs) offering further opportunities to pile up the points.

Courses approved by the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) – delivering certification for the purchase and use of professional products under the terms of the UK stewardship scheme – are expected to remain popular this year.

And those who take one of the courses listed on the CRRU website can be automatically enrolled on the PROMPT register.

Technical sessions led by suppliers such as Killgerm deliver another avenue of potential.

Organising bodies such as the BPCA, NPTA, Killgerm and Barrettine post details of forthcoming training activity on their websites.

CRRU: www.thinkwildlife.org/list-of-training-and-certification/

BPCA: www.bpca.org.uk/training

NPTA: www.npta.org.uk

Killgerm: www.killgerm.com

Barrattine: www.barrettine.com/Environmental-Health

PROMPT Plans Further Progress After Record Year

BASIS PROMPT has revealed plans to maintain progress following a record year.

Membership soared by almost 1,000 last year – taking the number of pest controllers signed up to the professional register past the 4,000 milestone for the first time.

Chief executive Stephen Jacob is confident the trend will continue as the organisation looks to expand its influence within the sector.

He said: “The PROMPT register has developed into an essential facility serving the pest control sector and membership has grown significantly year on year.

“By acting as proof of expert credentials, it has helped to establish a better definition of a professional pest controller, which was much needed in the UK, and it’s great to see that message getting through.

“We signed up our 1,000th member in 2010, so to have reached more than 4,000 just over six years later shows a significant level of growth.

“The challenge for us will be to maintain that level of progress and I’m confident that our strategies will continue to deliver.”

The launch of a rodent-specific category in 2016 has so far attracted more than 700 new members and, with further developments in the pipeline, Mr Jacob insists PROMPT has a bright future.

He added: “We think more than half of the professional pest technicians in the UK are now members of our organisation and that’s fantastic news.

“But we’re determined to deliver further benefits to existing members and build awareness of the register and the advantages that it provides.

“We’re accepting new technicians every week, providing they meet the criteria of course. But we also run stalls at major events and exhibitions where we talk directly to potential new members, explain what we’re all about and how membership of PROMPT can help their business.

“We signed up a host of new members at Pest Tech in November and we’ll be at PestEx 2017 in London in March.”

Mr Jacob plans to maintain the progress of the register by focusing on the value of membership.

He said: “I’d like to think most of our members feel they’re already getting a lot out of their registration and that it’s not just a box-ticking exercise.

“The identity card delivers significant value as it helps professional technicians to stand out from the crowd. But we’re now doing more for our members and there’ll be other developments in future.

“Last year we launched a mobile phone app which is a digital version of the identification card. It makes it quick and easy for members to register at events, log participation in training activities and collect CPD points.

“We’re in the middle of a project to improve the website and will build new pages which spell out the benefits of using PROMPT members both to businesses and domestic customers.

“We have an ongoing campaign to help raise the profile of the register and the benefits of employing PROMPT members and the quarterly newsletter will keep members and supporters updated on our news and activities.”

BASIS APPOINTS NEW MARKETING AND TECHNICAL MANAGER

Lucy Cottingham has been appointed to the newly created post of Marketing and Technical Manager with BASIS Registration, the charity responsible for training, certification, auditing and standard setting across a range of agricultural and related land‐based industries.
The new role has two key roles. First, to promote the work of BASIS and its activities to a range of stakeholders, including the 10,000 strong membership on the various professional registers. Second, to provide technical expertise to the staff and trustees of BASIS.

Lucy joins BASIS from Frontier Agriculture where she worked as an agronomist in Derbyshire and Staffordshire. A graduate of the University of Exeter, she gained a Masters from Harper Adams. Lucy is a Member of the BASIS Professional Register, a FACTS Qualified Adviser and has gained the BASIS Diploma in Agronomy. Her ambition is to gain the Graduate Diploma in Agronomy with Environmental Management.

“This new role will be critical to developing BASIS’ profile and the service we deliver to our Members,” says BASIS Chief Executive Stephen Jacob. “Lucy brings practical expertise that is so important to ensuring we continue to develop our service to the BASIS membership.”

Commenting on her appointment, Lucy said: “BASIS has been an important part of my career to date. Not only has it provided a route to the basic qualifications of the Professional Register and FACTS, but has also provided me further education which is so important when it comes to delivering advice to modern farming businesses. I look forward to the challenges of the new role.”

Issued by
Geoff Dodgson 07710 379561
geoff@dodgson.info 

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