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Essex Farm Manager Lifts Top Crop Protection Award

Farm manger Ian Gibson has been crowned the 2012 best candidate in the UK’s top crop protection qualification, the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection.

To mark the achievement, Ian, who manages Radbourne Farms in Aythorpe Roding, Essex, has just been presented with the Barrie Orme shield. The presentation was made by Richard Butler in his capacity as chairman of the Voluntary Initiative (VI) Steering group at a ceremony held at the Farmers Club in London.

2012 Barrie Orme trophy winner, Ian Gibson

Left to right: Ian Smith, chairman of BASIS, with the 2012 Barrie Orme trophy winner, Ian Gibson, and Richard Butler, chairman of the Voluntary Initiative Steering Group.

As well as the trophy, he received vouchers for travel to London, accommodation for two nights for two people with theatre tickets and spending money.

The award which is sponsored by the Agricultural Industries Confederation, Nufarm UK Ltd and C & J Supplies, recognises technical ability and professionalism in crop protection. With a pass rate of just 75% in 2012, the BASIS certificate is a tough qualification to achieve. Ian was among just 182 who demonstrated that they had what it takes to pass the exam.

Making the presentation, Mr Butler reminded his audience of the huge number of organisations that participate in the VI, which is charged with improving pesticide practice on farm. In particular he emphasised the central importance of teamwork in the VI’s achievements so far.

“Teamwork is also a key concept in the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection,” he said “Ian’s success demonstrates the value of a winning team. Not only do we have an outstanding candidate, but also in Simon and Kate Radbourne, very supportive employers and an excellent trainer in Debbie Wedge who runs the Chelmsford and West Essex Training Group.” This is the fourth time that Debbie has had a hand in producing the winning candidate.

Mr Butler also highlighted the increasing need for the best farmers and farm managers, the best agronomists and the best spray operators who together can put the best science into practice, to produce more and yet impact less.

Accepting the award Ian thanked all those who had supported and encouraged him. He explained how his passion for farming had grown thanks to his family’s friend Alf Jones of Velcourt who subsequently also gave Ian the opportunity to get into farming.

“I was very pleased to have passed the course and was honoured to be nominated for the Barrie Orme Shield but, to win the award is an extreme privilege.”

Warwickshire born Ian is a graduate of Harper Adams after which he spent two years as a trainee manager at Nocton Farms in Lincolnshire. He moved to Radbourne Farms in Essex in 2005, first as assistant manager and now as farm manager where he looks after 530ha of combinable crops.

Taking the BASIS Crop Protection exam was a logical development following on from passing the FACTS fertiliser qualification in 2010. Ian also successfully completed the ICM qualification in 2012.

The BASIS qualification is a comprehensive challenge. The assessment involves a written project and Ian’s was a re-design of the farm’s chemical handling and sprayer filling area. This is currently being implemented and once completed will be used as a Catchment Sensitive Farming demonstration site. There is also a written exam, a practical identification test and one-to-one questioning in the field from each of three examiners.

Runners-up in 2012 were Matthew Wallace, an assistant farm manager for Fridlington Farms in the Vale of York and Ian Warman a contract farmer in Wiltshire.


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