THERE'S not much to be positive about, other than the fact that farming is responding to filling those empty supermarket shelves that have happened as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic – in case nobody else does it: Here's a big 'well done' pat on the back from all at The Scottish Farmer.

It would also appear that Government is sitting up to take notice of both the importance of the nation's food producers and food security. The change in mind-set of many in Government is palpable.

It would seem, though this has not been officially ratified, that farmers will be deemed 'key workers' by Government in the fight against coronavirus and its various side-effects. Those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines) are listed. And we must ensure that farmers are given due recognition for their efforts.

One butcher I spoke to said it is evident that the supermarkets had been caught on the hop somewhat and it was great to see a return to the High Street butcher as being a major port of call for consumers. He normally sells one beast a week through his small shop, and he sold one-and-a-half in three days this week. He also sold 150 dozen eggs in the space of time he normally sells 20 dozen.

Another positive at this worrying time is that RSABI, the charity which supports people in Scottish agriculture, is gearing up to offer additional support to farming and crofting families.

These families, located throughout Scotland, are not only sharing widespread public concern about Covid-19, they are also dealing with the long hours and stresses of lambing, calving and other spring work.

It is reminding farmers and crofters that it is very much open for business and ready to offer financial, practical and emotional support. The charity’s helpline – 0300 1114166 – continues to be fully operational and available 365 days a year, from 7am to 11pm.

We would echo the charity's call for people in the agricultural community to try harder than ever to find time to talk to each other, given the additional strains being felt at this already hectic time of year.

So, whatever you busy schedule holds, put aside a little extra time to make that phone call to check on an elderly or vulnerable friend, neighbour of family member. You have no idea how a random or targeted act of kindness can lift someone's spirits. Small gestures, go a long way.

RSABI is currently helping 25-30 new clients every month and increasing its number of supporters is vital to ensure it can meet demand going forward – membership of its Individual Supporters’ Scheme costs just £25 per year.

• We are also conscious that, for whatever reason, getting a hold of The Scottish Farmer might not be so easy, especially if you have to leave your home to pick it up and cannot do so.

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