GOOD NEWS and bad news for Scottish farming this week.

First the good news: Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing has come up with a plan on how the £160m of convergence funding will be divvied up. Half this year and half next.

Crucially, it will be used to plug the gap left by the removal of LFASS payments caused by ScotGov's budget cuts made earlier this year. It was well-known at the time that Mr Ewing was at odds with the keeper of the purse strings, Derek Makay, on this one and it looks like the convergence windfall got both of them out of any further acrimony. A case of political expediency?

NFUS have rightly pointed out that the arrival of 'new' monies should not have been used to shore up LFASS, which in effect is using Pillar One money to shore up Pillar Two funding – it would have been interesting to see how the EU would have reacted to that one! It's unlikely we will ever know on that, though the never ending saga that Brexit has become might yet have a further turn to take – we'll just have to see what happens post the General Election on December 12.

Mr Ewing, though, is now at odds with the NFUS' proposals which asked for the monies to be distributed in almost an upside down fashion to that mooted by him. Though full confirmation of just exactly how Regions 1, 2 and 3, will fare in the division of the money is not yet clear, he made it fairly luminous that the majority of the money will go to those farming in the hills, rather than Region 1 farmers.

Crucially, he is also adamant that the cash windfall will be to 'active' farmers. It will be interesting to see how that is defined.

Now the bad news: The Campbeltown Creamery is almost certain to close despite the valiant efforts of producers who supply it trying to buy it out from First Milk, which had announced its closure earlier this summer.

The producers, it would appear, have now experienced the full pressure of just what the processing sector endures and at a perilous time for the milk industry. A lack of a major contract to take its cheese production – for that is what it is set up to produce – was a major factor. However, we can only speculate on how different things might have been had the creamery been able to produce other products.

Under investment had left it but one outlet for its production. Would yoghurt, butter or Skyr have been able to come to the rescue? The Mull of Kintyre brand on all of those products might have made a difference, but would have needed more than just the ability to 'buy out' the creamery on a very tight budget. It would have needed a serious amount of cash to make that plan really work and therein lies the rub.