SIR, – I always enjoy reading Jim Brown’s columns in The SF. His latest one he mentions 'three wishes'.

If your fairy god mother could grant you three wishes what would they be? A bigger overdraft? Sell the farm, buy a yacht and sail round the Caribbean? Or change the system and keep farming? I guess it is the latter.

Farmers have that Churchillian spirit and KBO, which means Keep Bu##ering On. There is a new film out about our darkest hour which I must try to go see, as I'm a great fan of Churchill.

Back to three wishes. Scotland is mostly a hilly country with a wee bit of fertile soil in the south and round the edges. And it's mostly mild – which means wet, wet and wet (awful band!).

Our country lends itself, due to ancient geology and geography, to producing livestock. On fertile ground, John Barleycorn reigns – he’s known the world over.

Three wishes, to KBO we need to change the system. We do livestock, tatties and barley very well. Trees, if you want trees go speak to the Norwegians or Swedes, who turn them into fancy build-it-yourself furniture. Trees are in fashion, I don’t get the current Scottish government’s fascination for reforesting our up lands and, sadly, much of our lower ground as well.

Lynx, wolves and bears hide in trees but maybe I’m jumping to conclusions of the government’s grand scheme! A pal of mine, 'Rhynieman', says we’re just going to become park keepers, tending the scenery, growing trees and feeding the eagles, lynx and wolves (some eejit will start on them next!) So, Drover’s three wishers to change the system:

1), Scrap the EUROP grading scale – just give the consumers more information on the breed they are eating (including sheep). They will quickly tell you what they want to eat. They won’t buy what they don’t like unless it’s cheap. Horses included!

2), Scrap area-based payments for regions 2 and 3 and all greening payments. Convert them back to a headage payment.

Why pay land owners to grow rushes and heather, there’s a better use of these limited public funds than 'Scotch mist and scenery'. Truthfully, it would be better spent on the NHS and care for elderly farmers than payments for growing heather. Simply pay headage on produced lambs or calves to feed the system.

3), Ear punchers – anybody got this antique in the attic? Redistribute limited public funds from regions 2 and 3 to livestock production (we’ve got lots of space and we’re good at it, remember). Every finished animal, say £8/lamb, £75/bullock or heifer up to 48 months to accommodate the native breeds.

This will be a financial incentive to produce – who cares about EU rules ... we’re leaving. That means an extra £5 to store lamb and £50 to store cattle prices, the finisher collects the £3 or £25 either at the abattoir or punched ear at the market for their contribution.

We’ve been here before you know, an incentive to produce a valuable product of Scotch red meat. I remember the 1980s when there were cattle and sheep a plenty and ear punching hundreds of Blackie lambs at Forfar, on a Friday, little wee lugs, difficult to get hold of.

Incentives to do what we are good at, region 1 barley and tatties, 2 and 3 calves and lambs to maintain a red meat sector. The system needs sorting quick, or we will send our livestock industry down the Swanee.

Three simple wishes to sort the system. If only somebody, like Mr Ewing could miraculously appear at a sale and listen to the solutions. Be brave, in daylight, take a drive to Oban for the Highland sale.

Tell me how many cows or sheep you spot on the way? No many I expect. I’ll buy you the first dram and we’ll see where the conversation goes. By the third the system may be sorted, by the fifth it will be sorted. What are your three wishes? KBO.

Disgruntled Drover

Name and address supplied.