The suckler cow is the backbone of much of Scotland's rural economy and provides thousands of jobs from farm to fork. Census figures, which show we have lost over 20,000 breeding females in the last few years, should cause alarm with policymakers who have the levers at their hands to avert the crisis.

This is not a unique event in Scotland, with similar dropping suckler numbers in Ireland and England where beef farmers are being squeezed. But the suckler sector plays a disproportionate role in Scottish farming, and as such, there needs to be action to arrest the decline.

A quick win would be to find the missing £30 million, which was swiped by former Deputy First Minister John Swinney last year. Then put that cash into supporting our fragile livestock sector, which is feeling the pinch as global forces squeeze our hard-working family farms. Our Cabinet Secretary Mhairi Gougeon was challenged at a recent NFU Scotland conference about the whereabouts of the millions and when the cash would be returning to the agricultural pot.

While she repeated assurances that the money had not been forgotten about, she could not say when exactly the cheque would be in the post. We are twelve months on and seem to have made little progress.

It is also the anniversary of the Union's march on Holyrood, where the Union's President demanded clarity on future farm payment plans. On November 2, around 400 farmers descended on Edinburgh to order the Scottish Government to put food production front and centre of future rules and explain a plan for agriculture. Again, we are now twelve months on and seem to have made little progress.

When asked if the march was a waste of time or if another was needed, the President felt the direction of travel from Holyrood 'was not in the wrong direction.' Clearly, the Union continues to believe it is better to be in the tent than shouting from the outside.

Certainly, few of us would like to be outside in this weather. We are rushing through the alphabet as continued storm activity is battering our fields and sheds. Areas of Angus have as much rain in a month, which would take some Morayshire farms an entire year to accumulate. If we are to avoid having to build an ark, then a rethink of the management of our waterways is a must.

On this flood prevention, the Union's challenge to the government was vociferous at their conference in Dunfermline. And if they had to build an NFUS ark, then Mr. Kennedy is unlikely to be letting many beavers up the ramp.