AS THE snow continued to fall today, and harsh winds whipped what has already fallen into yet deeper drifts, NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick pointed out that it was further proof of the difficult but vital job that farmers, crofters and growers do, continuing to brave arctic conditions to keep Scotland’s food chains running and shop shelves stocked.

“Our local secretaries, regional managers and head office staff have been taking many calls from members around the country and we are feeding their experiences into the Scottish Government and its Weather Advisory Panel," said Mr McCornick.

“Many of our members are struggling because of the snow and stormy conditions, with road closures and access issues causing problems for dairy and livestock farmers. The immediate impact of this is that many dairy farmers are not getting their milk collected and are being forced to dispose of it in their slurry after a days’ milking. We are hopeful that collections for these farms will return to normal at the weekend but with the weather being so unpredictable it is hard to say.

“Today’s statement from Arla, that they have agreed to cover the cost of milk that is disposed of if they are unable to collect any milk due to the road network being inaccessible or as a consequence of the freezing conditions, is very welcome and I hope that others follow in kind," he said.

“Normal day to day tasks on farms are taking much longer than usual and people are having to deal with the problems that happen when the weather is so cold and there is a lot of snow. Livestock farmers, particularly those with hard to access grazing are beginning to struggle to get fodder to their stock in the fields. We are keeping an eye on the situation and if the bad weather continues some assistance in the areas may be required.

“Despite these difficulties our members will continue to struggle on, tending to their animals and land as they always do, keeping up the high standards of welfare and quality which the public has come to expect from Scottish farming.”