Somewhere deep inside a mountain on the Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard lies the sort of facility which would be the envy of any James Bond villain.

Several hundred metres deep into the permanently frozen mountainside, under constant high security lies the Svalbard Global Seed Vault – where the world’s largest genebank of plant seeds is kept carefully sealed under tightly-controlled conditions of ice-cold temperatures and low humidity, specifically designed to keep copies of almost every cultivar grown by man in a permanently dormant state.

And for the first few weeks after sowing this year’s spring crops, Scotland’s weather seemed intent on replicating these exact conditions in the newly-sown fields of barley and oats around the country.

For rather than the brairds coming through in the usual 10 or so days, much of the early sown crops seemed to just sit there for an interminable period and even those that were brave enough to poke their heads through seemed intent on burrowing underground again as the chill north winds threatened to freeze-dry the early shoots.

But while the late frosts and Arctic winds might mean that the crops will do a fair old sprint through their growth stages when they do get going, that some of the oilseed rape crops took a bit of a dunt and that wheat spray programmes have been held up, maybe we should spare a bit of a thought for our poor old neighbours in France.

While we in Scotland might bemoan the slow emergence of our crops and the almost total lack of any grass growth, similar weather patterns have resulted in the declaration of a national disaster in that country.

A couple of weeks ago, many of the main world-famous wine-producing regions grape growers were hit with what have been described as the worst frosts for decades. They have virtually wiped out this year’s grape crop – literally nipped in bud as the cold weather hit just when vines were at their most vulnerable.

Temperatures as low as -8°C were reported to have destroyed the buds on grapevines in the vineyards of Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Languedoc and the Rhône valley.

Despite the use of water misters to reduce the effects of the frosts and the lighting of candles, braziers and even burning bales of straw to ward off the frosts, some areas have claimed that as much as 90% of crops could have been destroyed.

The cold snap followed unusually high temperatures in mid-March when temperatures peaked at around 26°C, and which had encouraged vegetation to burst into bloom early. But, fruit and other crops have also been caught in the Arctic blast.

French president, Emmanuel Macron, issued a message of support to French winemakers and farmers: "Hold tight, we are by your side" – and agriculture minister, Julien Denormandie, who termed the plummeting temperatures 'an episode of extreme violence that has caused very significant damage', has launched the process of declaring an agricultural disaster which would enable financial support for winemakers and other farmers facing the loss of their 2021 crop.

While this might reaffirm our belief that French farmers have always had the ear of their government, the loss of such an iconic part of not only French life but also national pride means it’s probably no big surprise that some promise of support was pretty soon forthcoming.

It has to be said, though, that on the home front, the industry has also received pretty fair amount of attention as we move towards the Scottish election. It’s been heartening to see our sector getting a pretty good name call in virtually all of the manifestos.

Now obviously we shouldn’t pin too much on what are often somewhat hollow promises which are meted out in these aspirational documents which, it would be fair to say, are designed more to get your vote than to be delivered.

But one particular aspect which was laid out in the SNP manifesto which pleased me was the promise to continue to be guided by the recommendations of farmer-led groups.

I’ve mentioned before that the reports from these groups which were launched towards the end of March, got a bit lost in the rush to get them out before the six week purdah period before an election which prohibits any major government announcements kicked in.

Sadly, they were a bit overwhelmed by the tsunami of announcements which were rolled out on the very last day before this period began.

However, that shouldn’t detract from the amount of work which went into them which, crucially, was led by people who had a practical, hands-on working knowledge of the industry.

The re-statement of the fact that they are likely to continue and be used to guide future policy after the election can only be welcomed given some of the tales which have been surfacing from those who have been involved in working with civil servants, particularly at elevated levels.

While Jim Walker’s revelations in recent weeks over the counter proposals made to the farmer-led group’s report on the beef sector by some of these civil service mandarins seemed to revolve around a significant cull of animals, this sort of simplistic thinking has to be countered.

The chairs of the various farmer led groups have also to be congratulated on maintaining a united front from the industry after what many viewed as a concerted attempt to divide and conquer the various different sectors.

But the inter-dependency of all sectors and the synergistic nature of the different enterprise types is surely one of the farming industry’s great strengths in Scotland.

As NFU Scotland said, it would be a disastrous decision, wholly unacceptable to our industry, were any option to be put forward by Scottish Government that involved cutting cow numbers by 300,000 as a solution to tackle climate change.

“That lack of vision, ambition and understanding would be a complete disaster from a livestock point of view and have a massive knock-on impact on our cereal sector given the volumes of grain grown for feed. The inter-dependency between agricultural sectors in Scotland should never be underestimated,” said the NFUS.

So the FLG’s recognition of the importance of a cohesive front in ensuring the important synergies which keep Scotland’s farming sector so closely knit continue is widely shared.

Therefore, with the mandarins of the civil service arguing for ill-thought through, short-sighted action to provide a short-cut to delivering the climate change targets which will inevitably continue to drive policy, it is absolutely crucial that once the new administration is set up after the election, the work of the groups gets picked up again at an early stage.

For, while it might be the duty of civil servants to provide honest, impartial and accurate advice to ministers to assist them in their decision-making, they might need reminding that any decision on next steps is a matter for future Scottish Government ministers.

And if the government works collaboratively with the industry, we can face the chill winds off this challenge together and goals can be delivered which ensure that food production continues to sit alongside the other calls on farming’s efforts, such as climate change, biodiversity and animal welfare, well into the future.