Farming is not only a profession but also a vocation for those lucky enough to be born into the industry and those who enjoy the countryside, with the result that many people who take up work on the land, are indeed some of the most loyal employees.

Not surprisingly, the industry boasts numerous long service awards of 25, 30, 40 and even 50 years on Scottish farms, with many individuals continuing to work, albeit part-time, into their retirement.

Many have also witnessed huge changes during their career too, as Jimmy McGregor, who has just celebrated more than 30years service at Drummond Estates, Crieff, pointed out. He was first employed as a farm grieve, but latterly as head tractorman.

Initially, when Jimmy took up the role at the end of May, 1983, his main job was growing hay and transporting up to 11,000 small bales to provide winter forage for the estate's Blackface ewe flock farmed further up the glen at Glenartney, and fattening the resultant lambs during the winter.

In those days, Drummond Estates, which is part of Lady Jane Willoughby's 64,000acre Ancaster Estate which includes ground in Lincolnshire, provided a living for 21 farming families, whereas now, the lowground estate acreage at Crieff supports just three such families.

"There used to be three people doing what one person has to do now," said Jimmy who lives with his wife Liz, just outside Muthill, Crieff, adding that he can now go for days on end without talking to anyone.

Much of the farmland on the estate has changed too in a bid to improve profit margins. Previously, only 80acres were ploughed for cereals, whereas that figure has now increased to nearer 1000acres.

It suited Jimmy though, as his favourite time of year was always harvest time, meaning that he was perfectly happy spending hours on end on a tractor. Our Jimmy would think nothing of working 70 plus hours a week, to get through the harvest and with the modern, hi-tech tractors boasting all singing all dancing air conditioning and full suspension, sitting in such massive machines for 12-14 hours a day causes few if any problems.

He's not giving up his farming boots yet though... If you don't see him cutting logs for the fire, he's helping to control vermin on the estate. He'll be back on the estate's trusted John Deere tractor before we know it too, all too eager to help out!