GIVE a big bucket of sweeties to a roomful of children and the fighting begins. And it would appear the same will happen when it comes to squabbling over who will get the lion's share of the promised £160m of convergence money.

It was always going to be a difficult one for NFU Scotland to handle. The divvy up, if done wrongly, could have the outcome of creating another kind of division, that of its own membership.

Already the cracks are appearing. Those in the less favoured areas who rear livestock think they should get all – if not, then the lion's share of this grandiose offering from current Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. Their argument is that the origins of the 'convergence' funding – when it was announced back in 2012 – was to bring Scotland's average payment per hectare up by the ghillie socks, rather than from the shooting jacket down.

On the other hand, those who received the unfairly apportioned minuscule initial 'convergence' monies are convinced that the extra funding should come their way as a matter of precedence.

With their proposal being put to Fergus Ewing this week, NFUS would appear to having handed a red hot baton over to ScotGov. Whatever the outcome, there will be tears and snotters ahead that will have the potential to pit different angles of the industry against each other. That is a given.

No silver bullet

The red meat industry is in crisis. Of that there is no doubt.

A packed ringside at Thainstone this week was testament to that as 500 waited to hear what could be done to extricate the industry from the dire situation where finished cattle are worth £200 per head less than last year.

But, it's not just finishers that are feeling the pain, their incoming shed fillers will also pass this discomfort down to the primary producers.

Was there a quick fix ... a silver bullet?. Of course there wasn't. But what was clear is that the industry knows it needs to take action now so that similar does not happen with such surety ever again.

Producers groups, better marketing and a return to the auction system for prime animals were all mooted as longer-term saviours. In the short term, the only solution is to fund the live calf that appears on the ground. And that makes a pretty cogent case for the convergence fund to be apportioned to primary producers – especially in the less favoured and challenging areas of Scotland (see above!). But remember, some LFA regions are more challenged than others.