WHEN YOU are caught between the tectonic plates of seismic upheaval – political or physical – there's only one way to survive. You can develop a diamond core of hardness, or you will be crushed!

That's maybe a bit dramatic, but Teresa May, our Prime Minister, is in just such a position between the rock and a very hard place over Brexit – and for farming's sake, it's important that she develops a diamond heart and a titanium neck. For she has such a lot to play for in agricultural terms.

There may be some 'Leave' zealots who still believe that we can import the majority of our food requirements – and that they will be cheaper – and allow the core business of agriculture in the UK to wither and die without nourishment from incentive, research, imagination and commitment. But the more pragmatic politicians must realise that the folly of this is to lay bare the country's nutritional needs to the vagaries of pestilence and war in 'other' countries.

History is littered with wars over food and water. The Middle East and Africa is and was awash with them, and yet some of those areas most blighted by it, are now expected to be a major source of this country's food baskets. Dream on.

Jim Walker (on this page) is asking for people of vision to take the industry forward and lead us Damascus-like from the road to the fiery pit of Brexit – and he might just be right. That vision must use the core value of necessity to trump the namby pamby soothsayers who want us to take a more 'ethical' approach to food production, the ones who say that current agricultural practices are ALL bad and are not sustainable – even though they have survived and evolved for many hundreds of years.

Farming, in the main – there will always be exceptions – is perhaps one of the most ethical businesses there is. You cannot produce decent agricultural output by 'poisoning the soil' or abusing livestock. It is maybe time for farming to show Mrs May how to draw a line in the sand and stand up proudly for itself.

That does not mean that we cannot do things better and obtain a win:win for the environment and business. But it needs careful, targetted research and commitment. There is a farming future out there without blight, without microdochium and without debilitating disease such as tuberculosis and foot-and-mouth.

But then, we are hamstrung by the diktat that there will be no gene manipulation in this country. Properly researched and without the prejudice of total control by big business, GM could allow the Scottish entrepreneurial spirit to survive and prosper. Who's going to be brave enough to stand up and say it?