WHAT terrific showcase Scotland's Beef Event was last week at North Bethelnie, near Oldmeldrum, where the Milne family exemplify just why the North-east of Scotland remains staunchly supportive, and the mainstay of, beef production in this country.

It also served to remind everyone of how open farmers in the region are to see 'new things'. The accent may be broad, but so is their ability to take an acute eye as to which new-fangled feed/machine/system will work for them.

What isn't working for them – or anyone for that matter – is a government capable of giving clarity to the current political ennui affecting the entire industry. Now is the time for ScotGov to step up to the plate and tell the Scottish farming industry exactly what it wants to put in place once we leave the EU.

We all know that 'Westminster is to blame' for quite a lot of things, but there is kudos to be had for stepping up to the mark with an exact list of: 'If we could, we would do X, Y, A and B' – and just like a stockjudging, they might get it wrong (or not even be allowed to get it right), but at least we would have some notion of what could be in place, even if it is a distant hope. Another reason for doing so, would be to allow the industry to assist in fine-tuning any future plans.

Last week, even Fergus Ewing agreed that some of the 'green' parameters currently shaping policy were flawed and that Scotland-specific research should be come into play. As research in the UK by Cranfield University has just shown, producing one almond takes a whole lot more piped water than one litre of proper milk! Time for the 'climate change' argument to get a bit more real!

Covet the gavel

AUCTIONEERS are the forgotten heroes of agriculture. Now there's a statement!

But there must be some sympathy with that, given that almost single handedly they are managing to temper the might of giant supermarkets and an Irish-dominated meat processing industry which would do them down.

Let's be clear about this, Irish farmers are being driven down a commodity route by having no credible auction system as a counter balance for finished stock. And, even store and breeding stock auctions in the Emerald Isle are coming under increasing pressure from government regulation which would see less resilient businesses fold.

The regulatory and fiscal processes which they are currently having to kow-tow to are an obvious result of the power of the big processors in the Dail. Believe you me, this is not a scenario we would want in Scotland. Time for everyone to respect and covet the auction trade a little bit more.