PHEW! That has been the busiest fortnight I can remember on the farm, from sowing spring barley, putting fertiliser on all crops, planting blueberries, covering strawberry tunnels, weaning calves, you name it, our team has been doing it.

Hats off to them all for their hard work – and it’s still going on. As I write this, we are a third of the way through planting potatoes and I have been jumping onto the stone separator for a couple of hours early in the mornings before the proper team starts as we try to make the most of the fine weather in this corner of Angus.

It was a tough start to the lambing in Glen Lyon, but the weather has settled down after three rough days, and the extra load of beans we sent up are making a big difference to the ewes, with plenty of milk and healthy lambs.

Our outwintered cows with calves suffered the worst February and March for as long as my father can remember, but they came through without mishap. Weaning weights were good, averaging 292 kg.

It’s amazing what livestock can take as long as they have full bellies and I am very conscious that being an East Coast arable farm we have an advantage over our friends further West who have suffered from a shortage of straw and fodder due to a lousy summer and autumn.

If you are suffering from post-traumatic Beast from the East stress it might cheer you up to know that this morning I had a cracked lip and used some of Kate’s lip balm, which did the trick.

It wasn’t until I went out to see all the staff giving me funny looks that it became apparent that the lip balm was coloured a vivid pink – I looked like a cross between Heath Ledger’s Joker and Stormy Daniels. Not a look every farmer can carry off, but I think I got away with it.

I managed to fit in supper last week with Scotland Food and Drink in Carnoustie. Around 50 guests had been invited to discuss the 2030 plan to double output of fruit, vegetables and potatoes that the industry leadership group, chaired by Allan Bowie, is working on.

The key areas we are looking at are skills, innovation, supply chain and markets. Naturally, there are a lot of differing opinions about the way forward, but one thing everyone I have spoken to agrees on is that there is a huge amount of work to do in schools.

Forgive me for writing about education in a farming paper, but I think it is fundamental to the future success of our industry and the kids themselves, for several reasons.

Firstly, a third of children in Scotland are overweight, partly because they don’t eat a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and veg. If we can help schools to do much more to encourage healthy eating, it would be a straightforward win:win for everyone – healthier kids, and more sales for us fruit and veg growers.

Secondly, in this strange new world full of fake news and doublespeak, it is vital that our kids learn the facts about food and farming. Edinburgh Council’s backing of meat-free Monday was just the latest in a catalogue of such.

Jim McLaren, of QMS, was spot on – “an opportunity to educate and inform our urban-based young people about local food systems in Scotland has been missed by an ill-informed and ill-judged decision which risks completely misleading pupils and parents.”

Finally, the whole industry is crying out for workers, from tractormen to cattlemen, to agricultural engineers. School-leavers rarely consider agriculture as a career, because unlike other industries we haven’t done enough to make it attractive to them.

There is only so much you can do of course. I remember Bill Ross, of Ross Agri, telling me that they took on a young new apprentice a few years back to work in the workshop. He was doing well, but one day his mother called to say she didn’t want him to continue because his clothes were filthy every night when he came home from work. You couldn’t make it up.

There is a solution to these problems and its name is the Royal Highland Education Trust, and it’s sibling in Moray and Aberdeenshire, the Royal Northern Countryside Initiative.

RHET proudly claims to have 11,500 schoolchildren on farm visits and 28,000 kids receive classroom talks from one of its 1000 volunteers each year.

Perhaps even more importantly, they have given training on food production, ingredients and sustainability to 600 teachers. Their fibreglass cow, complete with milkable udder, is always a hit at the Highland Show, as is Angus Countryside initiative’s combine cab trailer in their area.

Rob Clunes, at RNCI, tells me that they are hoping to reach 10,000 kids with their mobile classroom complete with live animals this year, an increase of 20%.

Also, RNCI’s Moray Skills Pathway brings 700 S2 teenagers into contact with agricultural employers – a great initiative, which should surely be copied elsewhere.

I have already written previously about Ringlink’s pioneering pre-apprenticeship scheme. Support for these initiatives is vital if we are going to secure a young workforce for the future.

I should also mention LEAF, whose hugely successful 'Open Farm Sunday' has had more than 80,000 people visiting farms in Scotland over the last five years, many of them children.

All of these charities are already doing a huge amount of work to educate kids about food and farming, but as is always the case, they are limited by funding, and they could always do with more volunteers.

We host two school visits from local primaries each year and they are an enjoyable break from everyday work for an hour or so. Our Angus RHET co-ordinator, Carol, takes the hassle out of preparation by doing all the dreaded risk assessments.

This is all great, but much more needs to be done. RHET claim to reach one in five of all Scottish kids over the course of their schooling, but why can’t that be five out of five?

James Withers, of Scotland Food and Drink, said at the strategy dinner that we should probably be looking to focus on doing a few things well. One of those should surely be taking the message of healthy food and sensible and sustainable farming into our schools on a much bigger scale than ever before.

In order to do that, the afore-mentioned charities need your support and, I would suggest, from the Scottish Government also.