UK (Harper Adams University) Agronomist Alumna Hollie Wins BASIS Excellence Award

An agronomist and Harper Adams alumna has been named this year’s winner of the Barrie Orme Shield.

Suffolk born Hollie Hunter, a full-time agronomist at Agrovista, secured the prize for achieving excellence in the 2022 BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection and being judged the top scholar among more than 250 people who pursued the award.

She first joined Agrovista in September 2021 as a trainee agronomist after achieving a first-class honours in BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Crop Management in 2021 from Harper Adams University.

Growing up on a family farm meant Hollie had a natural interest in crop management and she feels this led her to her choice of university degree and a career in agronomy.

Since her role involves supporting farmers with important decisions around crop protection, she decided to focus the research aspect of the qualification on selective chemical control of Italian ryegrass in UK winter wheat.

She said: “Because resistance issues are becoming a widespread problem it was a really useful opportunity to investigate new chemistry and its effectiveness.”

Hollie has credited her certification and award win to learning from peers and experts who she has worked with in her role as agronomist.

She added: “It was fantastic getting so much experience out in field with lots of the Agrovista team, it’s the only way to learn really so I am very grateful for their time and support.

“My BASIS approved trainer was James Christian-Ilett who has trained many previous winners of this award and was a fantastic help during my training.”

And Mr Christian-Ilett added: “I am delighted that Hollie has been awarded the Barrie Orme shield. Hollie was an outstanding candidate in all aspects of the demanding assessments that make up the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection exams.

“To be judged the best of the 251 entrants in the 2022 exams is a fantastic achievement.”

Hollie, who is also FACTS qualified, was also nominated for the 2023 BASIS Brian Chambers trophy which recognises the highest-rated FACTS candidate each year.

Looking ahead, Hollie is now planning on adding further qualifications to her FACTS and BASIS certificates in addition to building up business in the area.