A QUOTE often attributed to Winston Churchill – but actually traceable back to religious writings well before his time – is that if one is going through Hell, it is best not to stop. Keep going, and you will at least have the hope of getting past your problems.
By the time you read this, the votes will have been counted in the UK’s most recent General Election, and the die will be cast for whatever political future the country has chosen. That in turn will decide the progress of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, and quite probably have a strong bearing on Scotland’s future relationship with Westminster. 
About the only thing I can say with any confidence about the Election outcome is that, whichever way it has gone, nothing is going to happen as quickly as the last month of campaign trail rhetoric may have suggested it will. So what are Scottish farmers to do while those wheels-within-wheels turn? Keep going of course! This week brings several reminders of some real world business that needs attended to sharpish.
First up, if you are a tenant farmer who hasn’t yet taken the once-in-a-lifetime chance to have the unrecorded farm improvements you have made recognised by your landlord under the current amnesty, put this paper down now and make a start. You’ve six months to go and it’s a six month process. 
Growers! I know it seems ridiculous to mention as the heavens open up and dump yet another cold deluge on Scotland’s already sodden soils, but SEPA are looking for your submission regarding next spring and summer’s possible water abstraction needs for irrigation. Those brimming potholes on your farm road could be full of dust by June – and SEPA’s deadline is December 31.
Suckler beef producers! Claims on ScotGov’s coupled calf scheme close on the same day. Last year’s payments were, respectively, £98.92 and £144.27 per mainland and island calf. Get it done!
Sheep and goat folk! The deadline to complete the Sheep and Goat Inventory is even sooner – December 23 – and you are required by law to do so. It’s worth noting that a failure to complete and return the Inventory increases the chance of an inspection.
But ‘keeping going’ isn’t all about ploughing through the dull paperwork. There’s a wide horizon to keep an eye on too, and January is full of chances to mingle with folk walking on parallel paths to yourself. 
Determined farming future-gazers might consider attending the Oxford Farming Conference in the early days of the imminent New Year. If that sounds like over-rich fare, the more practically-minded could spare a day for the Moredun’s pig and poultry event, or head to the farm machinery Mecca of the LAMMA trade fair in Birmingham, or perhaps visit Perth for the Association of Potato Producers’ conference.
Indeed, let us just throw caution entirely to the wind, and make the assumption that, whatever our political leaders have in store for us, we’ll all most likely be going to the Royal Highland Show again next June, and take advantage of their ‘early bird’ offer of cheaper tickets to give as Xmas presents!