Association of Independent Crop Consultants (AICC) Chief Executive Sarah Cowlrick has won the 2023 British Crop Protection Council (BCPC) award for Outstanding services to the UK crop production industry.

Each year, BCPC recognises industry members making exceptional contributions in areas including crop science, ag-tech innovation, advisory and extension, education and training, and regulatory affairs.

The award was presented to Ms Cowlrick for her outstanding contribution as CEO of the professional body for independent crop consultants.

Hazel Doonan, Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) Head of Crop Protection and Agronomy also received the industry award.

Promoting the role of independent agronomy in successful and sustainable crop production, Ms Cowlrick continues to increase AICC’s share of the UK advice market, which now stands at almost 50%.

The organisation’s annual national conference, underpinned by its extensive crop trials programme, has grown significantly under her watch and is seen as the leading forum for sharing technical arable know-how.

She has also taken a leading role in encouraging new entrants into the AICC Academy, which offers aspiring crop consultants the support and education they need to succeed.

Former crop production researcher and BCPC board of management member Jim Orson presented the award.

He said that support and training of farm advisers is crucial to the rollout of integrated pest management (IPM) – a key priority for policymakers – and Sarah is helping to facilitate this for AICC members and the wider industry in her role as the group’s CEO.

“Alongside that, she has been the driving force behind the superb AICC conference and other events and is deserving of this award for outstanding contribution to crop production.”

On receiving the award, she said: “Developing the reach and influence of AICC wouldn’t have been possible without the support I’ve received from colleagues past and present, so I thank all the members that have contributed to this success.”

Andrew Blazey, chairman of AICC, said the award came as no surprise to those who work closely with Ms Cowlrick and paid tribute to her dedication.

He said: “On behalf of AICC I would like to congratulate Sarah on receiving this prestigious award, which underlines the value of the work she has done and continues to do for independent agronomy and UK agriculture as a whole.”