UK FARMING'S Voluntary Initiative on responsible pesticide use is seeking a new independent chair to lead its work in agriculture and horticulture.

Wiltshire farmer Richard Butler, who has chaired the VI since 2011, stands down later this year. He said: “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

English NFU vice president Guy Smith commented: “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."