A good New Year to all our readers from everyone at The Scottish Farmer, which this year is celebrating its 125th anniversary almost to the day (see more on pages 13-15).

It will not need a hard push to make this a better year than 2017 for so many reasons, much of them to do with the weather. There are as many reasons, though, why this has to be a kinder year for farmers.

The overarching one is Brexit and all of its uncertainties. This will be the final full year before the UK leaves the European Union and there remains much to negotiate, not least of which will be what kind of support will be put in place for this industry once we are no longer part of the Single Market.

Even the very question of whether we will actually leave the Single Market is open to question. It looks very much like the 'divorce' settlement that the UK will have to make in order to have access to the rest of Europe for agricultural products, will include encapsulating what was EU law, into UK law with all the red tape that this entails.

As our Euro Notebook correspondent, Richard Wright, points out this week, it looks like many of the very reasons that this country voted to leave the EU, will remain in place. This means that those who voted to leave Brussels' red tape behind are, as this column has already predicted, in for a shock.

Given the penchant in this country for gold-plating rules and regulations, it is a fond hope that we will face fewer regulatory processes. Indeed, if our negotiating team are not nimble-footed, we could find ourselves with more to comply with, not less, just to ensure that we have full and free access to the Single Market.

For farming, which requires some long-term planning and clarity of vision, it is essential that some headway is made soon on three key areas:

One, a clear roadmap to what will happen to EU funding right up until the final button is pushed and what will immediately be available to replace it needs to be known.

Two, that due consideration to the food production capacity of UK farmland is not sold out entirely to the green lobby'. With cropping strategies crucially operating in an 18-month sequence, the industry needs to know where it stands on 'greening' – these measures need to firstly ensure a viable industry.

And three, that due cognisance is taken to maintaining the UK's food security in the face of the vagaries of world politics and to give due credit to farmers' role in providing quality food assured by some of the most stringent schemes in the world.

Some good weather would also help!