Dear Readers,

What a very different world we live in and we’re only just more than one week into government restrictions on movement, a lack of food on the shelves and living with a general fear that we might contract coronavirus. We all have a whole new set of phrases and vocabulary to get used to – self isolation; social distancing; furlough; Covid-19; and total lockdown.

However, for you, the readers of The Scottish Farmer, things are slightly different. You have animals to tend to, crops to nurture and work to get on with to fulfil your everyday job of putting food on the nation’s table. Gradually, the farming industry is getting back some of the ground that it had lost in terms of respect from the general public. That old saying ‘never criticise a farmer with food in your mouth full’ has never been truer.

But farming faces many challenges too. Not the least of which is disruption to the market place caused by food stockpiling, the lack of export opportunities for some of our most famous products, like Scotch Lamb, and the total loss of a catering outlet for many products. And, there are lots of unintended consequences for farming, over and above the obvious ones.

That’s where we, at The Scottish Farmer, will help deliver the news that keeps you abreast of what’s happening to YOUR business targets, so that you can make the best decision for keeping your business safe, as well as your family, from Covid-19. This is an insidious disease that will be with us, changing our lives, for some time – maybe even years – so using information that you can only glean from The Scottish Farmer, will be crucial in the months ahead.

Our team are all in self-isolation at home and testing the connectivity of our local area to the full. However, we will maintain our pledge of supporting the industry that we have provided the news for, and reported from, since 1893. This week’s issue, for instance, was produced almost entirely from home-working staff. As a result of this, we’d like you, the reader, to send us your working day pictures to help give us a true awareness of what’s going on in the countryside – send them to

It is a worrying time and though farmers are almost used to ‘self-isolation’, we are aware that this enforced state could increase loneliness and impact on the mental well-being of some in the industry. That’s why we’re supporting RSABI, the charity which supports people in Scottish agriculture, which we can tell you is gearing up to offer additional support to farming and crofting families. Those families, located throughout Scotland, are not only sharing widespread public concern about Covid-19, they are also dealing with the long hours and stresses of lambing, calving and other spring work.

The charity remains very much open for business and ready to offer financial, practical and emotional support. The charity’s helpline – 0300 1114166 – continues to be fully operational and available 365 days a year, from 7am to 11pm

We would echo the charity's call for people in the agricultural community to try harder than ever to find time to talk to each other, given the additional strains being felt at this already hectic time of year. So, whatever you busy schedule holds, put aside a little extra time to make that phone call to check on an elderly or vulnerable friend, neighbour of family member. You have no idea how a random or targeted act of kindness can lift someone's spirits. Small gestures go a long way.

• We are also conscious that, for whatever reason, getting a hold of The Scottish Farmer might not be so easy, especially if you have to leave your home to pick it up and cannot do so. With that in mind, we plan to make it as easy as possible for you to continue to read your favourite farming newspaper, whether it be via an on-line package or by subscription and post, at the very least until everything settles down.

This is YOUR newspaper and we pledge to deliver it to you – whichever way you choose ...

Ken Fletcher, Editor.

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