By Scott Donaldson, president of the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland

As the livestock auctioneering industry starts to draw breath after a personally hectic and typically busy autumn peak selling period, we can start to take stock and reflect for the long term.

The “talk of the steamie” this week has been the lead up to and reflections on the BBC documentary on the agricultural sector and climate change. Whilst awareness of the impact of climate change has been growing exponentially, I for one am becoming increasingly appalled by the continual ill-informed and ill-judged attacks on the UK farming industry. Monday night’s programme, sadly, was one more example of that trend.

Put simply, it’s time for our industry to get on the front foot in response. We have the facts on our side, and the ability to make a powerful and robust defence of the Scottish agricultural economy.

We need to work together to convey the message that our farming practice is – to an overwhelming degree – an example of best practise that the world looks up to. Yet the continual stream of documentary makers seek to portray us otherwise. Whilst the film-makers head to the most intensively farmed units the world can provide, the industry in Scotland has to pick up the pieces of public opinion that is increasingly looking in the wrong direction to solve the climate challenge.=

I for one am proud of the way we farm in Scotland, we do so with high environmental standards and a constant focus on welfare standards. We nurture the rural environment to the degree that our stock maintains a world-leading carbon sink – otherwise called “grass” – and our husbandry techniques are a million miles away from the images portrayed on our TV screens by those who have a wider agenda.

In truth, this is probably the biggest fight our industry faces, and we must face it together. I was delighted to see James Withers of Scotland Food and Drink taking a stand on the issue recently, and the production sector needs to support that move. Together, we can speak with one voice, and calmly explain the part that we can play in addressing the climate challenge. One part of which is to explain that if the rest of the planet met our standards of farming quality, we would take a massive stride forward in meeting the climate challenge.

Livestock Markets across Scotland stand ready to play our part in turning this tide of negativity towards our fantastic rural economy.