A new chair has been appointed of a Voluntary Initiative (VI) in Scotland that promotes the responsible use of plant protection products (PPP) through Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

Angus-based Amy Geddes is to take over from Dave Bell as chair of the initiative, which represents Scottish interests at the UK Voluntary Initiative – a body which encourages the responsible use of PPPs, with the aim of ensuring that “every farmer and grower places IPM at the heart of decision making on-farm”.

Geddes will represent the National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS) at the UK level strategy group as well as the voluntary initiative in Scotland.

The Scottish VI aims to reduce the risks of pesticide pollution and to mitigate diffuse pollution risks. It works with landowners to protect and increase habitats for pollinators, including bees and farmland birds.

It also promotes best practice and the responsible use of pesticides through different accreditation schemes, training, and practical tools to protect water and the wider environment.

Commenting on her appointment, Geddes said: “I am looking forward to continuing and building on the work by the Scottish VI and retiring chair Dave Bell.

“Through the Scottish VI, we will continue to promote best practice, grow awareness of IPM and strengthen relationships across the industry and partners.”

Amy Geddes

Geddes is a fourth-generation farmer at Wester Braikie Farms near Arbroath and, in partnership with her parents, farmers 320ha of seed potatoes, spring barley, winter oilseed rape, wheat and vining peas.

She joined the board at Scottish Agronomy in 2022 and is currently co-vice chair of NFUS combinable crops committee.

She has said she is a supporter and keen volunteer for the Royal Highland Education Trust and enjoys hosting visitors on farm to learn about food and farming and the countryside.

Geddes’ appointment coincides with NFUS vice president Andrew Connon being announced as a representative of the Scottish VI and a UK VI board level.

“As well as promoting best practice, the Scottish VI has an important role in preventing over-regulation of pesticide use within our industry,” Connon said.

“It will also support the priorities of our combinable crops committee and potatoes and horticultural working groups as we look to preserve the range of active ingredients available in our plant protection products.

“Having all the tools in the toolbox will be important in the production of safe, nutritious and healthy crops in the future.

“I look forward to working with Amy to further develop this important area for NFU Scotland members.”