Standard setting, training and auditing organisation, BASIS Registration is celebrating its 40th year of service to agricultural and related industries throughout 2018.
This key milestone is a testament to the developing industry, proving that training and continued development is not only essential for production, but it's here to stay, as the need for increased knowledge across the board grows.
To showcase the past four decades of both the organisation and the industry, Stephen Jacob, BASIS CEO, looks back to 1978 when BASIS was founded to regulate agrochemical suppliers and advisers.
"One key player in the organisation's development was former chief executive, Barrie Orme, who instigated the examination and training side, for which it is now so well known," says Stephen.
"Once this was well established, Barrie saw the further need for ongoing professional development for agronomists to keep abreast of developments in crop protection, so set about launching the highly regarded BASIS Professional Register to meet this need in the early 1990's."
Stephen goes on to explain that the role of an adviser has also changed over time, so BASIS continually updates its courses and syllabuses and ensures that CPD points can be obtained on an array of topic areas.
"While integrated pest management recommendations are still key, advisers now have a much wider remit, offering assistance with all aspects of agronomy from variety choices to soil quality improvement or wildlife enhancement on farms."
Hazel Doonan, AIC sector head of crop protection, backs this point, highlighting the need for a good understanding of soil management for improved productivity and sustainability.
She adds that training and recognised qualifications are also important for the wider image of agriculture.
"The fact that agronomists are qualified and undertake CPD demonstrates and reassures the public that plant protection products, when required, are only recommended by professionals who have assessed the need very carefully.
"Going forward, training and CPD will continue to be a high priority to help agronomists stay up-to-date with new developments in all aspects of their work. So, it's important that course content and delivery is regularly reviewed, and all parties can access relevant training," says Hazel.
Because of these ongoing new developments, BASIS plans to stay ahead of the curve with its '2020 digital transformation project'. This will bring improved efficiency and service to stakeholders while enhancing member benefits, to continue to support the industry in years to come.