Posted 16 April 2005Four part-time students at Harper Adams University College, Shropshire, have become the first to receive a brand new professional agronomy diploma. Rob Hughes, of Wrekin Farmers Ltd, Wellington, Shropshire; Andrew Melton and Brian Ross, of Frontier Agriculture, Lincoln (formed through the recent merger of Banks Cargill Agriculture and Allied Grain); and independent consultant Bryce Rham, of Oswestry, Shropshire, were officially presented with the BASIS Diploma in Agronomy at Harper Adams on April 7. They achieved the diploma after undertaking a number of short courses at Harper Adams and other land-based institutions. As well as theoretical knowledge gained through classroom training, the four also demonstrated thorough practical experience - the key to success with all BASIS qualifications. Rob Simpson, BASIS Managing Director, said: "The Agronomists role is changing and as government places ever more emphasis on biodiversity and environmental considerations, with the new Water Framework Directive, Single Farm Payment,Entry Level Scheme and Cross Compliance, their job is becoming more and more diverse. The BASIS Diploma in Agronomy represents a commitment to their role as farm advisers, to maintaining their knowledge and keeping up to date with the latest requirements for practical on-farm agronomists.” Steve Wolff, of Frontier Agriculture added: “I am delighted to be present at such a prestigious occasion to see two of our foremost agronomists, Andrew Melton and Brian Ross, be amongst the first to receive this award. We feel that our links to Harper Adams and the expert training they receive here is an important component of our ongoing commitment to delivering leading edge advice to our farmer customers.” For further information on the Basis Diploma in Agronomy, or other Basis short courses please call 01335 340856 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For courses at Harper Adams call Carol Hinks on 01952 815324 Ends Note to Editors 1. Pic cap: (L-R) Rob Hughes, Brian Ross, Rob Simpson of Basis, Bryce Rham, Keith Chaney of Harper Adams, and Andrew Melton. 2. The diploma was conceived in 2004 to reward agronomists who were actively involved with new training initiatives for the industry, in particular the BETA (Biodiversity and Environmental Training for Advisers) and Soil and Water Management qualifications. In the future it is hoped that achieving the diploma will entitle candidates to a further education diploma currently being accredited by Harper Adams, and will become a benchmark for agronomic advisers Candidates must first of all have achieved both BASIS and FACTS (Fertiliser Advisers Certification and Training Scheme) qualifications, before undertaking a Soil & Water Management certificate, BASIS Advanced Crop Module, BETA, and the BASIS Plant Protection Award. Modules are available as short courses at Harper Adams University College.