The Scottish Government’s failure to meet its own net-zero targets should come as no surprise. The warnings were always there.

In a bid to soften the blow and with a distraction technique that would have made Houdini proud, the minister has presented a suite of new policies to try to catch up.

It should also shock no-one that these policies put agriculture and land use once again firmly in the crosshairs and so the legislative and administrative burden on farmers continues to grow.

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Some of the policies are not entirely new. A focus on peatland restoration is an easy hit. The carbon tax on larger landholdings will also be an easy way to wring more cash from landowners and fits with the wider land reform agenda.

The introduction of methane-inhibiting supplements for livestock has been kicking around the back offices of the Scottish Government for some time and is now a serious option, but doubts remain in some quarters about the long-term impacts of these on human health from consuming meat products where these have been used.

Only time will tell how investment in the venison supply chain will evolve, but it could produce limited opportunities for the sector.

The introduction of land use partnerships could be a welcome move by some, but how these will look remains unknown and they may prove yet another drain on the time of already-hard pressed farmers and crofters who will end up having to justify how their industry operates to a political class desperate to appease an essentially urban electorate.

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The bid to establish a four-nations climate response group is likely to receive a lukewarm reception from Westminster, but will be hailed as a triumph at Holyrood if it goes ahead and an opportunity to slam London if it doesn’t, giving the kind of political rammy not seen since the two governments argued about mousetraps.

Other measures not related to industry might also have an impact on rural businesses and communities including a 20% reduction in car kilometres but part of this is a bid to ‘accelerate the switch from current engines to zero-emission vans and other vehicles’. Initially, larger firms will be pushed to this, but smaller businesses and traders will be next, although ‘appropriate support mechanisms’ will be provided. Whether electric vehicles can cope with the rough terrain and long hours on farm remains to be seen.

A lot of these proposals are something the sector may be happy to back – agriculture has already demonstrated its key role in fighting climate change – but the bottom line is that farmers and farming organisations will have to brace themselves to fight their corner in the face of policymaking that many see as terminally ignorant of the sector that puts food on the nation’s plates.