BASIS graduate and self-employed Suffolk-based livestock farmer James Hamilton has won the BASIS Best Farmer of the Year Award.
James was selected as the winner after completing the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection in 2014 and won an all-expenses paid trip to this years Oxford Farming Conference, courtesy of Award sponsor Bayer CropScience.
James runs a farm of 200 commercial ewes, along with pedigree and performance recorded flocks of Suffolk and Charollais sheep, but also spends his time looking after the grassland, spreading fertiliser, spraying and re-seeding the grassland and fodder crops.
James ambition is to take on his own farming tenancy and, following the award win, he is determined to further develop his practical farming skills to become even more accomplished and confident across multiple farming disciplines.
James said: Im delighted with the award win and hope this will help me move that step closer to my goal of taking on a farm tenancy. The skills and knowledge that I learned from the BASIS course helped deepen my understanding of arable farming and expand my career opportunities. I would advise anyone in the farming sector, especially those less experienced in arable farming, to take part in the course!
Andrew Orme, managing director of Bayer CropScience UK said: It is testament to James ambition and ability that not only did he do the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection when many in a similar position would not have considered it, but he also won the Best Farmer of the Year award. It bodes well for his future career and we wish him very success in finding a farm tenancy.
James undertook the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection to further his understanding of growing arable crops and daily crop protection jobs, which he believes will help him make better-informed decisions on the farm.
James said: As most of my farming experience has been with livestock I wanted to improve my knowledge and understanding of growing arable crops, while gaining a formal qualification. If and when I start growing arable crops, I think the knowledge Ive gained will help me to understand and challenge the agronomists decision-making to ensure my crops receive the most appropriate, efficient and cost-effective programmes.
James will shortly be carrying out Combinable Crops audits for Red Tractor and, once he has completed the FACTS certificate he will be able to carry out Produce Audits, which will involve auditing growers of fresh produce such as potatoes, apples and pears.