Agricultural agronomist Emma Smith has been named the winner of the BASIS Paul Singleton Award, which awards outstanding contributions to crop protection projects.

She was presented with the award by BASIS at Cereals 2024 for outstanding achievement in the research component of the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection course.

Smith’s research focused on evaluating the effectiveness of five plant protection products with physical modes of action in controlling Tetranychus spp. spider mites on cherries grown under temporary protection.

Chief executive of BASIS, Andrew Lazenby, said: “Emma Smith exemplifies the dedication and innovative spirit that the Paul Singleton Award aims to recognise.

“Her journey from a determined student to an accomplished agronomist is truly inspiring.

“Emma’s project reflects a deep understanding of crop protection and a commitment to advancing horticultural practices.”

Emma Smith

Smith’s passion for horticulture led her to enrol at Nottingham Trent University at 26 for a foundation degree in science in horticulture.

Her desire for a commercial career in horticulture became apparent during a placement year at Chatsworth House and seasonal work at Starkey’s Fruit.

After graduating in 2020, she became assistant growing manager at S&A Produce, managing 35ha of strawberries.

Smith then worked as a growing technician at Lower Hope Fruit, overseeing nearly 50ha of various fruits.

Less than a year ago, she joined Agrii’s horticultural agronomy team in the West Midlands, calling it an “unmissable opportunity”.

Smith commenced her BASIS in commercial horticulture while working her notice period at Lower Hope, with the farm allowing her to conduct trials on their property.