While farmers might have been largely shielded from a great deal of Covid-19 restrictions, simply because the industry has one of its busiest work schedules running at the moment – and in some of the best spring weather (if a little cold) that we have experienced for many a year – none can now be unaware of its serious implications for everyone across the world.

This pandemic is changing the work and economic balance for many people and will continue to do so for some years ahead. It will have a far greater impact than the economic earthquake of 2008 and the industry should be ready for the fallout – it will be a cloud over consumer spending for some time.

But, the farming industry can hold its head up high knowing that it is a 'key worker' for the nation by continuing to fine-tune its ability to re-stock supermarket shelves with the best that it can produce. But it needs the full backing of the retail trade to back British wherever possible and not make our home-grown industry a sacrificial lamb to the totem of profit.

On a wider front, there are already very real and great sacrifices being made in these unprecedented times and none more so than the hard work that goes in to making sure that we are all safe. We hope to give our own small tribute to frontline NHS staff and the like, and so I would ask that readers help us contribute to our industry-wide ‘thank you' in any way they can (see page 11 for details).

We also have a page of pictures in some of the great responses from the farming fraternity on page 34. Humanity lives and breathes in the countryside!

Furthermore, can I ask readers’ patience in respect of their delivery of this newspaper. From our end, the paper is going out as per usual, but we are aware that with some retailer and subscription copies, the pandemic lockdown is making delivery late in some areas.

Bear with us on this – and we hope that our new features, such as the 'Champions of the Decade', 'Stockmen of our time’ and beefed up arable coverage will make us worthy of any wait that you might have to endure.

There is every indication that lockdown measures will begin to ease soon and that should relieve the stress points on all sorts of things from the price of beef and milk, to the resumption of some events and to the availability of The Scottish Farmer.

Stay safe ... and sane!

We have been heartened by the uptake of our digital only and subscription plus free full digital access packages, and we thank those readers who have opted for this. Rest assured that we value your support through all of this. We are all in this together ... and together we will see this through.


News from trusted and credible sources is essential at all times, but especially now as the coronavirus pandemic impacts on many aspects of the farming industry and rural life. To make sure you stay informed during this difficult time, our online coverage of the crisis is free for everyone to access.

However, producing The Scottish Farmer's unrivalled business reporting, opinion and features still costs money and, as our traditional revenue streams falter, we need your support to sustain our quality journalism.

To help us get through this, we’re asking readers to take a digital subscription to The Scottish Farmer. You can sign up now for just £2 for 2 months.

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Thank you, and stay safe.