The new policy framework aimed at meeting climate change goals, while sustaining a resilient cattle production sector seemed to strike not only the right balance but also the right note amongst the beef boys when it was revealed last week.

But while the Suckler Beef Climate Group’s framework was obviously targeted towards the cattle sector, there was a widespread feeling that the approach which they advocated in their report to the Scottish Government on future policy could also be taken as a jumping-off point for addressing similar challenges in other sectors of the industry.

Speaking to former NFUS president and The SF’s columnist, Jim Walker, who headed up the group, he said that not only did the report deliver an ‘oven-ready’ blueprint which could be used across the country but that a pilot project could be set up and financed by pump-priming money which was already available – so things could be set to move fast.

Making the point that the industry had to take the bull by the horns and address the issues of climate change and other environmental factors, he indicated (in his own indomitable fashion) that while governments might be skint just now, they would be totally skint a few years down the line. Therefore, it would be nigh-on impossible for farming to get money for any ‘business as usual’ production support, no matter how loudly the industry might scream and shout.

That might just be a message we should be listening to in the arable sector, as it’s usually far better to take the initiative and set something up ourselves than it is to have a scheme imposed on the industry which was drawn up by someone sitting behind a desk – no matter how well intentioned.

I would certainly imagine that anyone with experience of the little-loved Beef Efficiency Scheme – which was widely touted as the direction in which future support would move when it was launched a few years ago – will probably have some idea of how easily a good idea can go wrong if it doesn’t have a strong guiding hand from within the industry itself doing the steering.

So, given the way which the wind seems to be blowing, it has to be asked if we will soon be looking at the same sort of plan being drawn up for the arable sector. And if so, would a similar approach gain the same high level of support from those who grow crops?

For, while the finger of blame for the vast bulk of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions has often, fairly or unfairly, been portrayed as pointing squarely in the direction of enteric emissions of methane from cattle, in truth no other sector really comes out of the climate change arena smelling totally of roses.

If support is going to be administered down a green funnel in future, then simply ignoring the issue of climate change is likely to do little for our prospects of maintaining the degree of financial backing which, being honest, we all rely on heavily at the moment to eke out a small profit at the end of the year.

I did find myself wondering, though, if the arable sector is as mentally prepared for what will inevitably have to be a major change in mind-set.

For there would seem to be a fair old difference in the psychology and characters of those operating in the two sectors. While they might not take it quite to the level of the dairy boys, the beef and sheep lads can do a pretty good job of making their voices heard when things aren’t going too well in their sector.

That’s not meant to imply any criticism, but it is meant to highlight the contrast – as making any sort of song and dance about a situation often appears to be the last thing that many of those in the arable sector would want to do.

When prices come tumbling down, contracts get trampled underfoot, or the weather deals us stinking hand after stinking hand, although there might be some quiet grumbling amongst ourselves, grain growers seldom take to the streets and just seem to take it on the chin.

But while the lack of desire to make a song and dance seems to be an ingrained trait, this stoicism shouldn’t be viewed as sign of some sort of defeated resignation. In fact, it might be better interpreted as the reverse, a self-belief that what we’re doing is right – it’s just the rest of the supply chain, the weather gods, or the rest of the world in general that is wrong.

The recent history of the two sectors has probably contributed, in part, to this divergence in these personality traits.

QMS and SQC were set up within a short spell of each other and were amongst the first industry-led assurance schemes to be up and running – marking both sectors out as forward looking. But the approach of these two bodies has diverged markedly as the years have progressed.

While SQC has remained focused on providing the tools to help market the product and gain approval from the rest of the supply chain, QMS has widened its remit to become a non-departmental public body and has long been involved in gathering statutory levies and also playing a considerable role in providing training and education to the sector.

This might have contributed to the difference in mindset – for while it would be neither fair nor accurate to say that the livestock sector has been subjected to years of being told that they have been doing things wrong – albeit while being encouraged to do it better – there has been a tendency for a didactic approach to be adopted towards highlighting the livestock sector’s reliance on support – and the need to improve physical performance.

The stream of guest speakers pulled in from around the world (yes New Zealand, I’m looking at you) have tended to give the impression that the beef and sheep farmers amongst us have been making a pretty poor job of managing our grass and improving our stock here in Scotland.

So, you could say that the sector has been softened up for being told that they need to pull their socks up and maybe do the job a bit differently.

But the cropping sector has pretty much escaped this sort of critical assessment of its performance. It’s only relatively recently that a tentative message that our productivity levels have been falling behind our counterparts elsewhere in the world have been somewhat timidly presented to us at meetings and conferences – and even these often tend to be portrayed as yield plateau caused by hindrances like the loss of spray actives.

So, you could say that a bit more groundwork might be required to convince the cropping sector that a change of approach will not only be necessary to make sure that we continue to receive public support, but also that in so doing we might be able to reduce our carbon footprint while also improving the financial efficiencies of our operations.

Or, it could be that this confidence is actually like the boss who strides self-assuredly about his farm, looking like he’s in charge of everything around him – but only he secretly knows that somewhere way, way down in the deepest recesses of his wellies, one of his socks is coming off …