Jack Buckingham, a trainee farm consultant from Devon based Creedy Associates, has been presented with the first ever Brian Chambers Award for excelling in the FACTS plant nutrition examination. The Brian Chambers Award was launched in early 2019 to reward high achieving FACTS examination candidates, in honour of Professor Brian Chambers – a pioneering soil scientist, who passed away in 2014 aged 53.

Having grown up on a farm and graduating from The University of Reading with an Environmental Management degree, Jack looked for a career that would combine his two passions of agriculture and the environment.

“I didn’t want to go straight home to work on the family farm after university. I wanted to broaden my horizons by working in the industry, so I joined the team at Creedy Associates in 2017,” he said.

“My boss introduced me to the idea of participating in FACTS training. Many of my colleagues had already completed the qualification and I felt it could build on my experience and in-house training.

“The course provided an overview of fertilisers and plant nutrition, including everything from nutrient management plans and NVZ regulations to the use of muck and slurry. This has already helped me in my daily work, when I’m out on farm providing advice”.

Throughout the course Jack was tutored by BASIS accredited trainer, Dr Jim Lewis from DJL Agronomics, who he praises for providing realistic on-farm scenarios for the candidates to get to grips with the theory.

Jack said: “We were taught all about regulations surrounding fertiliser and manure storage and application, with a focus on the recent Defra ‘Farming Rules for Water’.

“This was particularly useful as these new rules apply to nearly all farmers and require them to think more about applications of nutrients from both manures and bagged fertiliser to meet crop requirements, which is something I can help them with.”

Jack is really honoured to receive the award, which was set up as a tribute to the late Professor Brian Chambers. “I was delighted to be nominated, but really didn’t expect to win, it’s given me a great confidence boost”, he said.

Jack is hoping to continue his career development by enrolling in a future BASIS Certificate in Soil and Water Management, to build on the knowledge he has learnt in the FACTS qualification.