Independent awarding body, BASIS, has collaborated with OF&G (Organic Farmers and Growers) and Abacus Agriculture to develop a brand new training course for farmers and advisers looking to enhance their knowledge of organic production systems.

“The first ‘Foundation Award in Organic Farming’ training course will take place at Stoneleigh Park from 21 to 24 September 2021,” explains BASIS’ head of business development, Greg Hopkinson.

“The new qualification will provide a comprehensive introduction to organic farming practice and legislation, primarily focusing on crop and livestock production, soil management and conversion planning, all of which are important elements of organic production now, and into the future,” he says.

Over the course of a week, candidates will complete five modules via training delivered in small groups, supported by independent study. This will be followed by a written examination with successful candidates awarded the qualification.

Steven Jacobs, OF&G business development manager, explains that not only will the training enhance a candidate’s knowledge, but it demonstrates their ability to commit to professional development within the organic sector.

“While the course will give an overview of crop and livestock production with a focus on soil management, there’s also a training module on conversion planning to assist candidates yet to, or in the process of making the switch to organic,” he says.

The aim is for the Foundation Award to act as a stepping-stone to more advanced certifications in the future, that will be targeted at ‘graduates’ of the course, as well as more experienced farmers and advisers, already practicing in the organic sector,” he says.