The see-sawing of the machinations surrounding the Agriculture Bill continued apace this week and it all centred on the effectiveness or otherwise of the trade commission set up by Trade Minister Liz Truss to stand up for British food and to scrutinise imports which don’t meet our high health and welfare standards.

Ms Truss has been trying to bolster the terms and conditions of its authority in the past week to appease the farming industry, but there are sceptics out there who think that it is, in fact, a Trojan Horse for setting the UK up to be a sponge for imported food products. Time will tell on that one.

This column pointed out when this commission was first announced that without a proper set of teeth it was a toothless mouse chasing a lion. That seems to be have been recognised by the commission in its attempts to try to prop itself up for a longer term than first anticipated by widening its scope – or is it hunkering down behind the parapet?

Whatever the commission’s long term aspirations, it would be nice to see its members doing a bit of sabre rattling in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s direction, so that he might see that he is not going to get it all his own way.

Let's keep Scotland safe

Covid-19 has affected everyone's lives and we had almost thought it was starting to go away. Alas, it has proven to be a hard bug to squash and we are once more again on the thresh-hold of another complete lockdown. England, Ireland and Wales have already gone that way – but there are many reasons why it might not be the case in Scotland.

The main one being that many areas are currently free (or almost free) from the disease, but we must all be careful to maintain that position. With farming just ended its busiest time of year for sales and with lorry loads of livestock, it is beholden on those shifting cattle around the country, especially to some of the more remote areas, to show due diligence in ensuring that they cannot be accused of spreading disease – and that goes for livestock as well as humans. So please help to maintain the status of 'healthy' areas by maintaining proper social distancing and hygiene.

The threat of more localised lockdowns, though, is having an effect on specific areas, mainly within the Central Belt, and Ayrshire and Arran. For that reason we'd like to know if you experience any difficulties obtaining your copy of The Scottish Farmer. If you find this to be the case then please don't hesitate to contact our circulation department on 0141 302 7719.