FARMERS can quite often moan when new pieces of legislation 'arrive', as if by chance, that affect them and the running of their businesses. Often these have come about as a result of consultations that were used in their construction.

So, at the risk of stating the patently obvious, there is a lot of discourse going out there at the moment that will have a bearing on the industry's future. These are not just airy-fairy opinion polls, but a genuine attempt at garnering information to help the formation of far-reaching changes to the way 'things' work.

One of the most important is the milk contracts' consultation. NFUS has been campaigning hard to round up a range of views on this as it has the potential to at least partially free dairy producers from being continual price takers. Dairy farming has been plagued by divide and rule strategies since the milk marketing boards were disbanded and this is the first attempt since then to bring in some sort of order. Voluntary codes don't work, so there needs to be clarity of guidance.

Also in your own court, will be the future of the white-tailed sea eagle management scheme, which is currently under review. Whether you see them as magnificent, or menace, it's important that those heavily impacted by their re-introduction are allowed a voice to shape the future of their management. They are awesome, but destructive and therefore pragmatism has to enter into any future administration. Sheep matter too!

Similarly, mycobacterium bovis is an increasing problem for the industry and SRUC want farmers to take part in a new study to help scientists better understand its spread. Make no mistake, this is a slow burner that might just turn into a firework for farming. On top of the financial impact for those owning cattle that get it, it has ramifications for human health, given its effect in ramping up antibiotic resistance. Penicillin that doesn't work has ramifications for all.

On top of all this, there's a range of online forums – young crofters have been one of the more recent success stories for this, where access to land was highlighted as an obstacle by some of the Scottish Crofting Federation’s young crofters. The event showcased the aspirations and concerns of young crofters – but it also highlighted just how savvy the industry as a whole needs to be to raise its voice above the babble of people who like to pontificate, but don't really 'know.'

Even computer Luddites have been forced to become Zoom and Teams active. It has worked wonders for everything from breed societies to social groupings. The potential is there for industry organisations, such as RHASS, NFUS, SAYFC and pedigree breed organisation to save considerable sums on travel re-imbursement for its directors/committees.

This new-found adoption of the 'internet' will be a catalyst for great changes in the way things work. It's well recognised this is a busy time of year, but for those affected by these various surveys and consultations, take some time out to make your views known.

You have a right to be heard. Don't let those who shout loudest and work the system influence the basis of how your business work.

On that note, it's good to see AgriScot's organisers embracing this new era with their Agri-E-Scot on-line webinars. Come November, this will be an ideal platform for the industry to vent its spleen direct to government.