Sir, – May I start off with hoping everybody has had a good festive season, but of course fellow farmers work through this festive time. Wouldn't it be great if we had the same work/life balance as the government agencies have?

Since my last letter in The Scottish Farmer about form-filling and dyslexia, I've had quite a few 'phone calls of support and it's quite clear from what people are telling me – there is something far wrong with the way farmers are being treated.

The one over-riding aspect seems to be a profound absence of support from any organisation, but then why would we require support and protection from government agencies? The pattern seems to be that there are no checks and balances to these various agencies that carry out farm inspections.

Even the badgers in their sett and the birds of prey in the sky, have more protection than the person in the wellies. The most disappointing part of the 'phone calls that I've received is that our NFU seems unable, or unwilling, to provide support for these farmers.

Their only justification for carrying out these inspections is to look for fraud in claiming EU funding but it's clear that the government agencies have a different definition to fraud to the one the law adheres to. If a farmer is perceived to make an error, he is penalised and ultimately targeted for more inspections.

But we know that when these agencies make mistakes, they do not receive the same punishment. If they did, they would become equally financially bankrupt as they are morally.

It is as if, in all cases, they have appointed themselves police, judge and jury and, as we know, making a clerical error is not fraud.

You might think it naive of me to pose this question but why should all public agencies be there to punish you when their job is to protect and serve the public and since when did farmers become an underclass that sits below the public?

Maybe if we held these agencies up to the same scrutiny as they're holding farmers they'd find themselves woefully wanting. I suppose the most obvious waste of public money has been the hugely expensive computer system that has neither delivered on usability, or cost effectiveness and prompt payment of subsidies. That is so glaringly obvious and the rest too numerous to mention.

Is there a solution to this problem?

I have tried to get a petition together online but the parliamentary agency that runs the petitions department has since rejected it. It is quite clear that a petition would only confirm the strong feeling we know is in the countryside.

I think it is time to ask the hard question, why is our union not inquiring about the legality? They cannot fight every single case, but at least if they chose one it would maybe set a precedence and stop this madness.

So, please, if you are attending any NFUS meetings ask this question – as I've been unable to get any reply – but I hope this won't be necessary and the NFUS would make their position clear in the press.

I am willing to discuss it at any public meeting they might want to invite me to.

Sandy McCreath