NEXT WEEK would’ve seen the annual off-farm exodus of farming folk to Ingliston for the AgriScot event – but this year, those thousands won’t be there ... or will they?

For, in what promises to be the biggest online agricultural event in Scotland this year, AgriScot will indeed be setting the trend again on its event day, November 18. In the few short weeks since the organising board of directors gave it a green light, an impressive platform of speakers and ‘stand-holders’ have been put together and you will be able to go to the show, but from the comfort of your own office.

The BIG debate will be between Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Fergus Ewing and NFU Scotland president, Andrew McCornick – both of whom will have plenty to say in their first public head-to-head since lockdown. It could not have come at a better time as we run down the clock on what will be a huge milestone for the industry as we finally part company with the European Union at the end of December.

That milestone could be a millstone depending on how the trade talks end up and hopefully we will get a steer on where things are going from these two speakers next week. No doubt the ‘Farming for 1.5C’ report and the Scottish Suckler Beef Climate Group’s recommendations for tackling climate change will be the source of much of the debate and will surely prompt questions from the floor – which delegates to the webinar will be able to do.

Also that day will be the NFUS-led Dairy Hub, which has performed miracles to get together some real big hitters from the sector. Pundit Chris Walkland is never shy in coming forward with his own prognosis of where the industry is going; Nicholas Saphir has a big job on his hands as he settles into his role as chair of AHDB; and Robert Graham, of Graham’s The Family Dairy, will be on the platform to give a processor’s view. To our mind, that’s one of the best line-ups that has ever graced this popular part of the normal AgriScot programme.

So that means there’s every reason for those who would normally go to AgriScot to go again via their laptops or i-Pads. Within this issue, you will find that we, as media partners for the event, have put together a full programme. There’s some great reading in there, including a nostalgic look back at how it all started, plus a grand show of animals in the Champions of the Decade for the SuperCow and SuperHeifer winners from the past 10 years.

Plus, we’ve included a business-to-business platform – which has been sorely missed this year – for companies that usually take stand space at Ingliston for AgriScot. Almost 70 of the usual 200-odd businesses have also actually taken online space at the event should you need to talk about specific business needs.

For those unfamiliar with online events, AgriScot’s advert on page 15 will give you the information you need to enable an easy registration for the event. We’ll see you there ...