A highlight of the Royal Highland Show last week was a Lantra event to celebrate the different pathways for young people into agriculture.

A Ringlink pre-apprentice, called Craig Byrne, did a great job talking about his experience at the Forster’s farm of Peacehill, with his final ambition to become an estate manager. The way he’s going, it won’t be long till he has to set a new goal.

Expertly compered by Sarah Millar, there were many other young men and women there speaking about their paths into agriculture, and hearing them all talking so enthusiastically (and bravely, considering none of them are used to speaking in front of an audience) about their experience left me with a strong feeling that the future of farming is in safe hands.

The show - that great display of the best of Scotland’s larder, attracted politicians aplenty and droves of farmers to compare notes with, but my brother pointed out to me the distinct absence of senior supermarket people, which never used to be the case. The RHS is a shop window for Scottish produce. It could be the responsibility of the directors but others could also help to make it a ‘must attend' venue for our customers. After all, what are we without a sale for our produce?

At home, I don’t think I have ever seen every single crop across the whole county of Angus looking so well at this time of year. It’s almost too good – one or two rye crops in the neighbourhood are starting to go down after some heavy showers, so heavy is the crop. Hopefully, they will survive today’s drenching (Tuesday).

Cereal, vegetable and potato crops everywhere look amazing, first crops of strawberries are drawing to an end, having posted good yields and decent sales, our next strawberry tabletop crops are looking and tasting as sweet as we could want. Blueberry crops have a good fruit set on them.

Everyone is raving about bumper silage crops, so, as the Catalans say, 'Let no new thing arise,' the implication being that it probably won’t be good if it does.

In that case, the Catalans might be unfairly ill-disposed towards the new future Food and Farming Production Group which had its first meeting at the show. According to Scottish Government: “The group will explore and make recommendations on future farming and food production policy built around six principles with a view to making clear recommendations for future policy development for farming and food production in the course of 2020. The themes were – sustainability, simplicity, profitability, innovation, inclusion, and productivity.

While intending to focus sharply on practical suggestions that can support farming and food production, looking across the supply chain, the group will also need to take on board wider policy priorities such as:

• Global climate emergency and moving to net zero emissions faster

• Maintaining populations in rural areas

• Inclusive growth

• Low carbon economy

• Global, outward looking nation

• Tackling poverty and inequality

One thing that covers almost all of these themes is public procurement. It should be the most obvious and simple thing in the world for councils to source fresh, local food and produce healthy meals giving a balanced diet with in season home-grown fruit and veg for schools, hospitals, prisons and any other government institutions.

The fact that it isn’t happening is completely mad and I hope this new group will push hard for it.

Talking of madness, Catch 22, on Channel 4, is well worth watching. It’s a brilliant satire (based on Joseph Heller’s book) about war with the central theme based around Yo-yo, who justifiably finds his job as a bomb aimer on a B25 flying missions in Italy utterly terrifying.

Desperate to find a way out, he consults his doctor, who tells him that anyone who is prepared to fly in these awful conditions is clearly insane, and therefore entitled to ask to be grounded. However, as soon as they ask to be grounded, they are clearly sane and have to fly.

Not being a member of a political party, I don’t have to face the Catch 22 decision facing the Conservative Unionists as they choose a new leader – many of them south of the Border (and incredibly, one or two north of it) are convinced that Mr Johnson is the man to save them from Mr Corbyn, and they either don’t realise or don’t care if that choice threatens the Union, as it undoubtedly does.

Most of them north of the Border are now backing Mr Hunt in the belief that the Union is more important, even if he is less likely to beat Mr Corbyn (though this is far from certain).

Of course, there is every chance that Mr Johnson will beat himself before he gets anywhere near Mr Corbyn. This is commonly known as natural selection. Failing that, however, you can be either a Conservative or a Unionist, but you might not be able to be both.

There is a passage from Catch 22 about farming which gives a reminder of the bad old days of subsidies:

“Major Major's father was a long-limbed farmer, a God-fearing, freedom-loving, law-abiding rugged individualist who held that federal aid to anyone but farmers was creeping socialism. His specialty was alfalfa, and he made a good thing out of not growing any.

"The government paid him well for every bushel of alfalfa he did not grow. The more alfalfa he did not grow, the more money the government gave him, and he spent every penny he didn't earn on new land to increase the amount of alfalfa he did not produce. Major Major's father worked without rest at not growing alfalfa.

"On long winter evenings, he remained indoors and did not mend harness, and he sprang out of bed at the crack of noon every day just to make certain that the chores would not be done. He invested in land wisely and soon was not growing more alfalfa than any other man in the county.

"Neighbors sought him out for advice on all subjects, for he had made much money and was therefore wise. 'As ye sow, so shall ye reap,' he counseled one and all, and everyone said, 'Amen'."

Thankfully, times have moved on and we have a very strong case to make for support, but we should never take it for granted.

Ringlink would welcome your support on a guided walk across four Munros in Glen Clova on July 31 to raise money for the Archie foundation as part of the Oor Wullie Big Bucket challenge supporting children’s hospitals across Scotland – if you have stuffed and overindulged yourself at the Highland Show and are feeling like the fatted calf, perhaps this will give you a goal to get fit for?

Look on the Ringlink website for details. Walkers donate £100 and undertake to raise more through donations. Come and join us!