WOLDS farmer Paul Temple has been appointed chairman of the Voluntary Initiative (VI).

The former NFU vice-president, who farms near Driffield, said he was “honoured” to have been appointed at such an important time for British agriculture.

He said: “Although we do not yet know the Government’s plans for our sector, I know that the pressure on all of us to continue to produce good wholesome food at a price that is fair to the producer and consumer alike will increase.

“To achieve this, we must always look to make the most agri-economic efficient use of our land.

“This brings challenges that will require the industry to adopt new and innovative practices that encourage greater use of integrated approaches and the continued responsible use of pesticides.

“We also need to demonstrate that the whole industry takes stewardship of our land seriously and, as importantly, we must do this in a way that is sympathetic to the wider environment.”

The VI is a programme of industry-developed measures, which promote the responsible use of pesticides in order to protect water and the wider environment and ensure the availability of future crop protection solutions in agriculture and horticulture.

It aims to be seen as the centre of excellence on pesticide stewardship and best practice by government, industry and stakeholders

Mr Temple farms 312 hectares in partnership on the East Yorkshire Wolds, producing cereals for seed, oilseed rape, vegetables and beef.

The farm has taken part in the GM Field Scale Evaluation trials and is part of the Higher Level Stewardship scheme.

A former chairman of the COPA COGECA Cereals, Oilseeds & Protein Group and founder of the European Biotech Forum, he is also a past non-executive member of the National Non Food Crops Centre Board and currently chairs the AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Sector Board.

Ruth Bailey, chief executive of the Agricultural Engineers Association and chair of the Voluntary Initiative Community Interest Group which represents the organisations sponsoring the Voluntary Initiative, said: “Paul’s breadth of knowledge of the agriculture industry and his experience as an innovative farmer who is a willing adopter of new technologies, makes him an obvious choice to lead the VI at this challenging time for the agriculture industry.”

She also thanked outgoing chairman Richard Butler for his “outstanding contribution to the work of the VI over the past six years.

“Richard has been instrumental in making the VI the industry champion for high-class environmental stewardship.”