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Ten Years of The VI: New Chair Visits Scotland

NFU Scotland welcomed the new Chair of the Voluntary Initiative (VI), Richard Butler, to Scotland today (Wednesday 7 December) to hear his views on the future direction of the VI.

The visit was a useful opportunity for him to get the perspective of a wide range of Scottish Stakeholders including NFUS, Scottish Water, SEPA, SNH and agronomists.

The VI was established by the farming and crop protection industry in 2001 to promote the responsible use of pesticides. Successful delivery of the VI objectives helped to ensure that the Government did not bring forward the pesticide tax that had been under consideration at the time.

Over ten years, the VI has been successful in driving uptake of crop protection management plans, continuous professional development and sprayer testing. The steering group - of which NFU Scotland is a member – directs the programme of work and reports progress to Government. 

NFUS Vice-President, and newly elected Chair of the VI in Scotland, John Picken said:

“In an era of food price inflation and growing questions over food security, it is important to understand that pesticides are key tools in meeting these challenges. However, the general public can be assured that the farming community takes its obligations regarding the safe use of pesticides very seriously.

“Through the VI, farmers have been encouraged to attend sprayer operator courses, have their spraying machines tested and produce crop protection management plans among other things.

“The initiative has also produced farmer friendly guidance on the best practice use of pesticides, supported research in this area and engaged the agronomist community to ensure they are equipped to give the best advice possible.

“The VI has more than delivered on its original aims and we look forward to working with Richard to ensure it continues to deliver for farmers, the environment and the wider public.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

Ends

Contact Wendy Fleming on 0131 472 4020

Date Published:

News Article No.: 193/11


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