The Voluntary Initiative Seeks New Chair

Last updated: 22 May 2017

The Voluntary Initiative (VI) is Voluntary Initiative Logo_16195seeking a new independent chair to lead the organisation which promotes the responsible use of pesticides in agriculture and horticulture.

Wiltshire farmer Richard Butler, who has chaired the VI since 2011 and overseen its progress, will stand down later this year.

"It has been a great privilege to lead this organisation and to see first-hand the commitment of farmers, industry and other stakeholders to promote the responsible use of pesticides. Pesticide use is subject to considerable scrutiny from both the public and regulators. The VI plays a vital role in encouraging best practice. I would urge anyone who shares my passion for this industry to consider this fantastic opportunity."

In addition to chairing quarterly meetings, the chair’s duties include engaging with Government Ministers and industry regulators to promote the aims of the VI, as well as communicating VI messages to stakeholders directly and through the media. Full details including how to apply can be found by visiting The deadline for applications is Friday 23rd June. 

The VI is supported by organisations from across the industry including manufacturers, distributors, agronomists, farmers and operators while the position of Chair is government funded.

Speaking about this opportunity NFU Vice President Guy Smith said: "At a time when pesticides seem relentlessly under attack it is essential as an industry we demonstrate the highest standards of professionalism in their use. The VI is a key vehicle to encourage and demonstrate this. I look forward to the appointment of a new chairman who can continue the tremendous leadership shown by its current Chairman Richard Butler’.


Notes to editors:

1. The Voluntary Initiative is a programme of measures promoting responsible pesticide use and includes the National Sprayer Testing Scheme, the National Register of Sprayer Operators (NRoSO) and the Integrated Pest Management Plan (IPMP).

2. The sponsors of The Voluntary Initiative are the Agricultural Engineers Association, Agricultural Industries Confederation, Country Land and Business Association, Crop Protection Association, National Association of Agricultural Contractors, the NFU, NFU Scotland and the Ulster Farmers Union.

3. The role of Chair is supported by the Government.

For more information please contact Rebecca Lamb, Voluntary Initiative Operations Director, 07736 638139 [email protected] or visit

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