Keywords: Training, Professional development, BASIS, FACTS, Fertiliser advice.
The Fertiliser Advisers’ Certification and Training Scheme known as FACTS is an independent UK non-statutory certification Scheme for all those providing plant nutrient advice. The FACTS qualification was introduced in 1993 to ensure a high standard of proficiency in practical advice to farmers and growers. The Scheme was later developed to recognise continuing professional development in qualified advisers’ skills by the establishment of a system of professional registration through an independent Board. In the year 2000 annual FACTS membership was introduced to keep records of advisers up-to-date and to make possible ongoing communications of essential changes in legislation and knowledge. This latest development is an important part of improving the general level of competence of FACTS qualification holders and it makes possible identification of qualified advisers traceable through the Scheme’s records.
In the seven years since its inception the various FACTS programmes, including training and examination, continuous professional development and information transfer, have reached a substantial level of acceptance within the broad arc of the food industry and by Government. Both the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food and the Environment Agency openly promote the merits of the qualification and the supporting elements of the FACTS Scheme within national Codes and Guidelines, and the major food retailers regard the professional qualification as an assurance that recommendations for nutrient use on food crops are in line with accepted practice. The current scheme, it seems, is well placed now to deal with the future scrutiny into the legitimacy of nutrient use.
Jane L Salter, Fertiliser Manufacturers’ Association, UK
Ian R Richards, Levington Agriculture Ltd., Ipswich, UK
24 pages, 6 figures, 1 table.