Here is a challenge. The next time you are doing a job such as ironing or rolling a field where your full complement of brain cells are not required what about compiling a list?

If you are in an expansive mood, you might draw up the top contenders for a list of ‘the most influential people in Scottish agriculture’.

This would not just be the most recent presidents of NFU Scotland because you would have to include those business men and women whose farming has changed the industry and you might well think that leaders of other organisations have done more to alter the course of farming history.

You might also consider that the scientists and the advisors who are so essential to there being a profitable farming industry should be included.

And if you pop your thoughts on who the most influential people are in the industry to John and Andrew Arbuckle, it will help them compile a book of ‘lists’ aimed at raising money for RSABI – Scotland’s rural charity.

So far there has not been a book of farming lists. Some of the farming lists in the proposed book will be factual such as the top prices paid for Aberdeen-Angus bulls. It is hoped to include similar lists for all the major pedigree breeds in Scotland.

There are also lists of the top ten farm co-operatives in Scotland as well as the first ever farm co-ops.

Other lists they have gathered include the ‘Worst Jobs on the Farm’ and just to balance that out there is another one on the ‘Best Jobs on the Farm’.

The top alternative uses of baler twine provide a lengthy list as does the most evocative farmyard smells – and yes the pungent aroma of silage is included.

A nod is given to those who propelled Scottish farming forward. People such as Patrick Bell, the Carmyllie minister who invented the reaper and Archibald Findlay from Auchtermuchty who at one time last century could claim to have bred the most expensive potato variety – it succumbed to blight the following year are included in a list of Pioneers.

The plan is to publish the book in this autumn but Andrew is concerned that there is still much to be done. “We have a number of uncompleted lists such as the ‘Ten Most Common Excuses to the Bank Manager’ and the ‘Top Ten Pieces of Nonsense Legislation from the EU’ where additional contributions would be welcome.

“The plan is to complete the book by the beginning of August so there is still room for new ‘list’ suggestions. They have to be interesting. They can be off the wall.

“There is no financial reward for helping but your name will be included in the page of thanks in the book.”

You can contact John and Andrew Arbuckle on Tel 01337 870209