Moir to Take Forward Voluntary Initiative in Scotland

North East grower Andrew Moir is to take over the chairmanship of an important industry initiative in Scotland.

Mr Moir, formerly chairman of NFU Scotland’s Combinable Crops committee, will lead on the Voluntary Initiative (VI) north of the Border, part of a wider UK scheme to encourage responsible use of plant protection products at farm level while working with politicians and the wider agrichemical industry on key areas such as legislation, availability of products and water quality.

The VI was established by the farming and crop protection industry in 2001 in response to the threat of a pesticide tax (estimated to be 30%). The farming and crop protection industry’s response was to set up a programme of industry-led voluntary measures. Amongst other activities, the VI has established three UK-wide schemes – pest management planning, sprayer testing and a sprayer operator register - to demonstrate to the UK government that plant protection products are being used responsibly.

Mr Moir, who takes over the chairmanship from former NFUS Vice President John Picken, said: “The VI has increased farmer awareness of the good stewardship needed when working with plant protection products. This has not only helped the environment but also demonstrated why farmers can and must be trusted with an effective range of such products and tools so that we can continue to grow food efficiently in the face of growing pest and disease pressures.

“The VI provides an efficient, voluntary and light touch way for farmers and the wider agrichemical industry to show that we take our responsibilities very seriously.

“In turn, we hope to persuade regulators and politicians to recognise the significant strides the industry has made, and adopt a more pragmatic approach to key areas for growers, without resorting to the blunt threat of taxation.

“That said, many Scottish growers may not have seen or appreciated the work being carried out on their behalf by the VI so in the next year, one of my challenges will be to raise the profile and activity of the VI here in Scotland.”

Notes to Editors

  • Andrew Moir, Thornton Mains, Howe O the Mearns, near Laurencekirk Andrew is a contract farmer in the North East and his Thornton Farm extends to 650 acres mainly in winter cropping. Andrew, who is married with three sons, was brought up on the family farm near Huntly in Aberdeenshire and has a background in beef, sheep and arable. He was the Union’s Combinable Crop Committee chairman for three years, as well as branch chairman, Combinable Crop Chairman for the North East and the last Aberdeen and Kincardine Area President of NFUS before regionalisation took place, with a role in the finance subcommittee. As well as this, he also sat on NFU Scotland’s Milk Committee for three years. Andrew is currently chairman of Ringlink Scotland and Ringlink Services, chairman of AgriScot and sits on the Board of HGCA.
  • A photograph of Andrew Moir is available on request from
  • More details on the Voluntary Initiative are at the website:


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 45/15

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