WHEN I was approached to write an opinion article in the month of January, I was unsure where to start.

It's commonly known as the most depressing month of the year, when we have all over indulged and made New Year's Resolutions that will never be fulfilled! So I was not sure where to begin.

So this is me… born and bred in Dumfries and brought up on a busy dairy research farm, which gave me a fascinating childhood. From a young age I was intrigued to learn the importance of where our food came from. I can always remember telling my friends at school that milk didn’t just come from the supermarket.

My dad was eager for my brother and I to learn about the supply chain and understand the importance of what happened on farm. My childhood memories on farm were great fun and rewarding, it certainly influenced my career choice today.

Since graduating from Newcastle University last July with a Food Business Management and Marketing degree, I commenced the next stage in my career. From living in a very Northern city it was time to move elsewhere in the country, my journey progressed south to the city of Leeds. Working for a global FMCG in the member service team I encounter and speak to dairy farmers across the country daily.

Reflecting on this position, I can guarantee we all have the same aim of producing high-quality, nutritious products for consumers to enjoy. However, now more than ever we have to be proud of this product. With welfare standards increasing and the daily challenges, we as an industry must co-operate to offer a balanced argument. Personally, I think we must all open our farms to consumers and educate them where their food is produced.

Recent media exposure promoting alternative diets has increased the awareness of other options. We in our proud nation must embrace this challenge and promote Scottish food and drink!

From an early age I have been an active volunteer for RHET (Royal Highland Educational Trust) which educates young people about where their food comes from. I think this is a fantastic charity and would encourage everyone, young or old to get involved. Assisting with many school visits and promoting the importance of food and farming it certainly has been a very rewarding experience for all.

Another huge part of my busy life is Young Farmers. Joining my local club Lower Nithsdale (currently in its 75th year) ten years ago it certainly has kept me active! The variety of activities to participate in are endless and meeting like-minded people is fantastic. I would probably say it is the best youth organisation out there today! It allows you to meet new people, learn new skills and undoubtedly have a great amount of fun.

To select my favourite memory in the YFs, it would probably be the travelling. Having successfully travelled to Kansas and New Zealand on an exchange, it has allowed me to see the world, experience new cultures and make lifelong friends. On that note I must encourage all members to get an application in before February 7!

Reflecting on my thoughts, I would ask you all to face the challenges, share your experiences and remember we as an industry are all in it together to support each other.

So, as we exit January and look forward to spring, my philosophy is ‘it’s no whit ye hae, it’s whit ye dae wi whit ye hae.’