As featured in Arable Farming Magazine
Meeting the need to change
by Arable Farming Magazine January 2023 issue
At the start of a new year, BASIS chief executive Stephen Jacob considers how the organisation is adapting to changes in the agricultural industry.
The old adage that the ‘only constant in life is change’ certainly holds true for BASIS Registration.
The industries we serve are undergoing significant change – economically, politically and technically.
What is clear is that the farming industry is being challenged to produce food efficiently while taking ever greater care of the environment.
And to do so with increasing professionalism.
Raising professional standards has been the core of what BASIS has been about for almost half a century, first in the professional storage of plant protection products, then professional advice on crop protection and nutrition.
From these basic activities, we have expanded our offerings into an ever wider range of related topics introducing training modules in areas such as biodiversity, soils management, seeds, as well as other industry sectors such as sports turf and professional pest control in the public health sector.
Setting and certifying professional standards is a vital part of helping British agriculture to demonstrate the high levels of expertise in food production and environmental management – assurances that are so important for the public image of the industry.
The launch last year of the BASIS Environmental Advisers Register, saw the same professional accreditation become available to a wide range of land managers who are not necessarily involved in the technical details of agronomy.
Policy decisions While governments still strive with the details of Environmental Land Management, BASIS stands ready to support the policy decisions.
The past few years has seen BASIS making significant investments in digital technology and related expertise in the team at Ashbourne.
I hope that members of the BASIS Professional Register are already seeing some benefits such as easy registration for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points at events and the ability to check their own status on a secure area of the website.
Removing the drudgery of paperwork surrounding CPD and examinations has also been welcomed by BASIS staff as they can concentrate on more rewarding tasks.
BASIS has also entered the training arena with its increasingly popular BASIS Classroom.
In part born of necessity during the lockdown due to Covid-19, the ability to train and gain CPD points at times that suit the register member has proved popular.
In the past 16 months, some 12,000 modules have been completed and 24,000 CPD points awarded.
The coming year will see many more topics from commercial and increasingly independent sources of information become available.
The big news for 2023 is that at the end of January, BASIS will take over the administration of the National Register of Sprayer Operators on behalf of the Voluntary Initiative.
This will make the technical advantages enjoyed by those who advise on the use of plant protection products available to those who apply the products as well.
I am proud that BASIS has thrived on meeting the need for change for decades.
With a dedicated and enthusiastic team, supported by innovative technology, we are set to continue to serve the industry well.