THIS VERY edition last year many of you did not receive, caught up as it was in the maelstrom aftermath of the Beast from the East. So, what a difference a year makes as the country basked in record February temperatures this past week and with grass and crops growing at an alarming rate.

The cows are out in the more favoured areas and there was even a small crop of silage for zero grazing taken this week near Stranraer. All-in-all, the countryside is looking as well as it has ever done at this time of year.

The benign weather has, of course, been a Godsend to the livestock industry in particular which had the double whammy last year of the Beast and then a droughty summer, which reduced winter fodder stocks considerably. It has been a 'cheaper' year than expected – so far – for many.

With all that, you would think everything was coming up smelling of crocuses? Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a veneer, a mere facade of wishful thinking. The industry is still in trouble and the storm clouds of, at best political hiatus, or at worst post-Brexit hailstorms requiring an armour-plated tin hat, are circling.

Given that uncertainty and the feeling that a lot of decision-making has been done on the hoof and with nothing more than political expediency at the end of it, it is not totally unexpected that conclusions are being drawn between how quick the governments in Westminster and Holyrood are to catch the social media hype with relocation plans for sea eagles, golden eagles and beavers.

"We're looking after the environment," they shout from the precarious ramparts of their respective Ivory Towers. No, they most definitely are not. If loading their 'environment' with predators and destructive agents – at some considerable expense – is their idea of looking after it, then they must be disabused of the notion.

Sheep lobbyist, John Fyall, got it right, recently, when he said that re-wilding will happen as a matter of course of there's a 'no-deal Brexit'. Put simply, there might be little left to protect from predators in our remote hills and glens. Simple economics will force livestock from the hills just as forcefully as any Beast from the East – only thing is, it will be a different 'beast'.

So, the industry must now face having what would appear to be an unfettered beaver population destroying riverbanks – if any farmer had done such destruction, he would be facing a jail sentence – and with just about every predator hiding behind a cloak of protection, the only thing left unprotected is the humanity which inhabits those rural areas.

As with everything to do with nature, balance is the key, but as 'Anonymous' once said: "The key to keeping your balance, is knowing when you've lost it."