VI Champions - a resource for the Ag and Water industry

The Voluntary Initiative (VI) has recruited a team of experienced and passionate growers and advisers to provide knowledge and peer-to-peer learning, driving home the VI’s emphasis on IPM (Integrated Pest Management)

Taking the message further than “best practice” and “safe stewardship” of plant protection product (PPP's) use, the VI is moving to a message of integrated pest and crop management to drive change across the industry, working towards the visions encapsulated in the 25 year Environment Plan. The VI message of an IPM-based approach to sustainable farming requires close interaction with on-farm decision makers. Champions will deliver VI IPM-focused presentations and messages, to lead active dialogue to challenge current practice and drive through a commitment to farming in an environmentally sustainable way.

The 36 VI Champions, farmers/advisers/catchment officers are held in high esteem within the Ag and Water industries for advocating forward-thinking farming practices with an excellent knowledge of the challenges affecting the UK farming and water industries. Each has a good understanding of VI core values with regard safe and responsible use of PPP's and has also received media training. All are advocates of the need to move to environmentally sustainable farming through the adoption of an IPM-based approach.

The VI Champions

The Farming Advice Service (FAS) and Richard Heady of Heady's Farm recently participated in a webinar to talk about how Integrated Pest Management has helped to support his mixed farm through difficult conditions whilst offering business and environmental gains. Richard is a VI Champion.

Richard runs a mixed arable farm in North Buckinghamshire with his dad and uncle, with his focus being the arable side of the business. As single farm payments are phased out, he says that it has never been more important to improve the resilience of farm businesses and to look for new opportunities.

Watch a recording of the webinar here:

Here's one of our latest additions to the VI Champions, Emma Hamer. Emma takes us on a fascinating field walk to show some of the environmental interventions they are undertaking on farm to reduce reliance on plant protection products and to enhance biodiversity.

....and here's Richard Heady, a VI Champion and mixed farmer from Buckinghamshire explaining why IPM is important on his farm

Here Richard explains how glyphosate can be used to clean up post-harvest weed infestations, but highlights the need of best practice application to reduce resistance pressure and protect water courses.

Here are some of our other Champions describing what IPM means to them and why it is important.

See more VI Champions and hear their thoughts on IPM on our YouTube Channel


The VI Champions are now available to support the work of the VI as a free resource to the Ag and water industries.