By Andrew McCornick

NFU Scotland President

It’s the time of year when pantomime takes centre stage, and a genie has appeared from a magic lantern – The Scottish Farmer – and granted me five wishes for 2019.

* Stating the obvious, I wish this Brexit fiasco was all over. I am not alone, as I travel round the country and listen to members and in conversations with the general public it is by far the most common opinion I get.

There can be no doubt we have to get it right but the amount of resource and time (two-plus years) that has been thrown at this has certainly not been rewarded with a clear and acceptable roadmap that removes the uncertainty.

* Wish one leads to wish two.

Since 2014, the politics we are being subjected to have become tribal with everything being polarised into extremes. These factions are delivering an abusive, unpleasant and fractious atmosphere that is costing our democracy and country dearly, see above.

Politics will always create disagreement – I expect no less – but surely respect and moderation is not a big ask. There are plenty of high calibre people representing us in all three parliaments and I have been privileged to meet many in my role.

Politicians need to moderate the language and messages they are portraying to the public and work together to get a sensible and collaborative resolution which we need and expect. Pull together for the greater good, get it sorted, then go back to politicking.

This political and press sensationalist approach has created a new breed of keyboard warriors who through social media anonymity add vitriol to the debate. Our elected representatives should lead by example and spread some peace and decorum.

* Recognition of the true value of the food we eat.

Most people take food for granted. It is safe, nutritious and plentiful thanks to the standards, welfare and methods we as an industry work to. On a world scale, we are the third cheapest place to buy food, as a proportion of household income, behind only USA and Singapore.

As the cornerstone, we farmers and crofters meet some of the most exacting standards and rules anywhere in the world, with delivery on environment, landscapes and climate change alongside getting food on peoples’ plates. This could not happen without support from the public purse, a much-needed lifeline in rural Scotland and it keeps people and communities vibrant.

This supports Scotland Food and Drink's target of hitting £30bn in value by 2030 with a quality supply of raw materials alongside low cost food. We, as a country, cannot have all this compromised by bad trade deals in the future. Or have the innovative tools and plant protection products being used by global competitors removed or withheld despite the scientific evidence.

* Our industry should be portrayed and recognised as eco-warriors. We are the environmentalists.

We are living and breathing our farms and crofts and have no intentions of destroying the future for the next generation who will work the land to provide food for the ever-growing population. We are responsible custodians of the land and willing to do more.

I put food first, but we cannot deliver long term without respecting and protecting the soil, air, water and biodiversity we are integral to. For this to work, we need an agriculture policy that reflects it, either as a schedule in the UK bill or an effective Scottish Bill, or both.

* NFUS launched both a Joint Venture Hub and family membership at AgriScot. I dearly want both to be outstanding successes as it would bring new folk into our industry and bring youth and diversity to the fore to shape the future from within.

I wish everyone health, wealth and happiness for the coming year.