Farming is extremely personal to me. I grew up on a dairy farm near Forres and from a very young age, I told people I wanted to be a dairy farmer. After studying at the Scottish Agriculture College, that is what I did on farms across Moray, before politics got in the way!

While I swapped the green fields of Moray for the green benches of Westminster, the interests of our farmers, crofters and the wider agriculture sector are always at the forefront of my mind when I am representing them in Westminster and in Holyrood.

The change at the top of the SNP sees John Swinney take charge of his party again and Scottish politics finds itself at a crossroads.

With his predecessor Humza Yousaf having ditched the Bute House agreement with the Greens – an agreement which was roundly despised across rural Scotland – the SNP must now reach out across the Parliament to get legislation passed.

Under my leadership, the Scottish Conservatives are prepared to work with other parties if they show the same willingness as our party to stand up for – and champion the interests of – our rural communities.

John Swinney has an opportunity to reset his government’s relationship with our farmers and rural areas.

However, he has been at the heart of a government for the last 17 years that has roundly ignored their interests and pursued a central-belt focused agenda.

All too often the rural way of life has been unnecessarily interfered with and attacked, as the SNP turned their backs on so many people and communities across rural Scotland.

Under the leadership of Nicola Sturgeon and then Humza Yousaf, rural Scots have suffered at the hands of a government which is ignorant to their unique needs and has failed to deliver on an endless number of policy issues.

Farmers still do not have the clarity over what future rural payments will look like and have been left at a disadvantage compared to their counterparts south of the border, due to SNP ministers’ stubborn refusal to give the green light to game-changing gene editing technology.

That has been compounded by a lack of investment in rural housing, an overwhelming failure to make key rural roads fit for purpose and broken promises on their flagship broadband scheme.

All of this has a deeply damaging knock-on effect on the rural economy and puts off people from coming to live and work in our rural communities.

We can ill-afford to miss out on that next generation of farmers and agriculture workers if we are to thrive going forward.

As now Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes put it last year, continuity won’t cut it. The early signs from John Swinney are not good though.

He seems more concerned with pushing his independence obsession at every turn and defending the failures of his government, rather than having a laser-like focus on delivering for rural Scotland.

John Swinney and his continuity cabinet must listen to those who have to deal with the challenges of living in rural areas every single day and recognise that they feel abandoned by his party.

The Scottish Conservatives will continue to hold this failing SNP Government to account. Key roads like the A9, A96 and A75 have not been upgraded.

The ferries scandal continues to betray our islanders and the agriculture bill is woefully thin on detail.

Amid much laughter last week in the chamber, John Swinney tried to say he was offering fresh leadership.

Unless rural Scotland sees a dramatic shift in attitude, then they will continue to find those claims from the new SNP leader laughable.