Like thousands of you, I am missing the local shows, but more so than any other, last week’s Royal Highland.

Yes, we’re all there to show off what we consider to be our best animals, but more than anything these events are highly sociable, especially the Highland. Meeting friends you haven’t seen since this time last year.

Kist parties are in full swing as security staff wander round to keep order or spoil your fun … depending on your point of view.

However, although it’s ‘not quite the same’ we have had Scotland’s first virtual agricultural show. The RHASS made an attempt to bring the summer show season back into business!

But, you’ve missed the boat as far as showing is concerned, however you can still watch the judging. Exhibitors have posted a video on YouTube and these in turn will be on the show website. All the main breeds, along with the young handlers sections, will all be represented. There will even be a virtual beer tent! It was just £5 to enter with all proceeds being donated to the RHET.

So, there’s only one place to be next weekend if you’re mourning the lack of social gatherings, livestock ring rivalry, and alluring arrays of food and drink, then you wouldn’t want to miss this.

On a more serious note, how dare critics blame regulated modern farming practices for the Covid-19 outbreak. A group of farming organisations have united in a letter on how livestock continues to support global nutrition, high standards of food safety and public health during the pandemic.

These unfounded claims tried to present modern agriculture as the source of the virus.

At the start of lock down, many had experienced the non-availability of some foodstuffs. The safety of such products, which have been flying off supermarket shelves, is down to farmers’ commitment to rigorous animal health and welfare standards.

The claim is nonsense and what’s more, it isn’t scientifically supported. Yes, there are overlaps between human and animal health, however almost 75% of emerging animal-borne diseases come from wildlife, not farmed animals. As the saying goes, ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’.

Talking of unfounded claims, what about climate change. Ok it’s not totally unfounded, however the issue of methane having a major impact on climate change isn’t as bad as it’s been made out to be.

Planes and other forms of transport have been grounded all around the world and ‘hey presto’, the pollution effect has dropped. In the last three months, since lock down began, the so-called pollution levels from livestock have stayed exactly where it was. Yes, tackling climate change is an issue the whole industry needs to grasp and act on, but realistically, from where I’m sitting, it appears that our industry isn’t a major contributor. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Mr Scientist.

Amid these strange times which, thankfully, are slowly beginning to ease, the UK Government has continued preparations for our planned departure from the EU.

MPs had the opportunity for amendments to be made to the Agricultural Bill, which would have made sure that any imports met the same standards that we have here. Alas, they failed to support it.

It is imperative that we do not allow our supermarket shelves to be filled with products produced to inferior standards to that we are proud to produce. The UK Government says it won’t allow domestic standards to be undercut in any new trade arrangement, yet it isn’t prepared to put this commitment into legislation.

Life is going to be hard enough for everyone trying to find their feet again post coronavirus, without allowing imports of food which is produced in ways that would be illegal here. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from this pandemic, it’s just how important food security is.

The opportunity is there – like never before – for both UK and Scottish governments to recognise how dependent our nation is on our industry. The Bill’s second reading was heard in the House of Lords, earlier this month. The next stage is line by line examination.

All those MP’s, elected to represent us, will still have a chance to turn that decision and act in our best interests. That – after all – is what they’re being paid for.

I have mentioned this before, but at the risk of being repetitive I want to reiterate the issue of milk contracts. As lockdown restrictions ease, the country’s dairy farmers will be looking to ‘reset and restart’ by building stronger supply chains and re-opening the discussion over milk contracts.

There are many agreed priorities, but one that sticks out for me is to work with processors to ensure any adverse impacts on producers are minimised and returns to farm businesses are maximised.

For too long, margins have been way too tight. All of us must engage in this consultation. It’s your future and if you don’t take part, you can’t complain about the outcome. The UK Government and devolved nations will be launching the document very shortly. Look out for it.

I see Tesco has excelled itself again on their stock of Scottish produce on their shelves, or should I say the lack of it as reported in The SF’s Retail Radar. Yet, German supermarkets, Aldi and Lidl, remain committed to their range being 100% Scotch on beef and lamb.

Asda stock a small percentage; Morrisons continue to show very strong availability, with Scotch Beef making up 70% of the range and lamb 67%. Scotch Beef is in Sainsburys, but only makes up around 15% of the available range, however if you were to visit Tesco you would find it extremely difficult to find any Scotch beef on the shelves.

It varies dramatically across the country, with the percentage of imported product being as high as 50% in some stores, whereas in others it’s around 10% of the range.

The Scotch brand is big, it is powerful, and it is strong, so shame on you Tesco for not promoting it. Perish the thought your profit margin might decline!

How stupid can people be. If you feel the need to walk through a field of cattle for goodness sake have the sense to shut the gate behind you! I was sickened to hear that 11 cows died of staggers after gorging on a silage field. No wonder the farmer can’t bring himself to talk about it.

The shocking case has prompted the NFU to produce a new range of posters to put up on farms. I appreciate there is a right to roam but come on there’s a happy medium!

We have a right of way through our farm and have experienced walkers and cyclists continuing to use it during lockdown. We don’t have a problem with them as long as they ‘leave it how they found it’, which many of them do, but are continually let down by a careless minority.

On a personal note, very well done to Jack Brewster who has been named as Holstein UK’s Lifetime Achiever. Jack, from the well known Boclair herd, has been recognised for his dedication to the breed for 80 years! What an achievement.