Like many of you, I cannot believe we are near the end of yet another year and I don’t need to remind you, it’s been a year like no other.

It’s been unprecedented, strange, frustrating, and downright bloody annoying. We can only live in hope the vaccine does its business and gives us some peace of mind and a return to normality.

To say George Eustice has ruffled some feathers, while on the Andrew Marr show recently, is nothing short of an understatement. With the title of Environment Secretary, he really should have known better.

He suggested that sheep farmers could diversify into beef if the UK didn’t get a deal with the EU. He should know that 90% of UK sheep exports go to the EU and sheep farmers would be devastated in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Without a doubt, the UK is the biggest producer of lamb in the EU, In fact, more than a third of it comes from here. Tariffs would have an impact on prices, the cost would rise, and demand would fall.

Surely someone should have told him that building flocks or herds takes years to achieve. In fact, being a farmer himself, he should have known!

Mr Eustice also suggested that Arla would need to relocate the manufacturing of Lurpak butter to the UK. A spokesperson for the company was rather kind to him, saying his comments may have led to 'some misunderstandings' about its UK operations!

The minister would do well to remember, that it's better to look stupid, than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Staying with Brexit, it was reported on Sunday that the UK and the EU were to go the extra mile to agree a deal. Leaders have had 11 months to negotiate a deal for this and yet it's still trundling on.

In a joint statement, Boris Johnson and European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said it was 'responsible at this point to go the extra mile'. Just how many extra miles do negotiators need to carry on talks to see if an agreement can be reached.

As I write we have no idea how long these talks will continue, but the ultimate deadline is the end of the year. Time will also be needed for UK and European Parliaments to vote on any deal before then.

Ms von der Leyen said her talks with Boris had been 'constructive and useful'. But Boris repeated his warning that a no deal scenario was most likely.

In a nutshell, if there is no deal, border checks and taxes (tariffs) will be introduced for goods travelling between the UK and the EU. But deal or no deal, we will still see changes.

Ms von der Leyen said even though deadlines have been missed over and over, the responsible thing at this point is to make a greater effort to reach a deal. May be if negotiators had tried that wee bit harder at the start, we wouldn’t be in this position today. I sincerely hope the talks yield what was promised and the Government comes home with a deal.

Well done to the Scottish Association of Young Farmers which has delivered facemasks to all its members. The masks are part of a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of protecting yourself and others from Covid-19.

The campaign is also raising awareness of good mental health. There’s no doubt we all have good days and bad days – it’s when the bad days outnumber the good ones that our mental health suffers.

Tragically, the statistics show that more than one person in agriculture, per week, takes their own life. And every single one is, one too many.

We’re faced daily with pressures and challenges and the current pandemic has heightened feelings of isolation and helplessness. We haven’t had any shows, events or other chances to socialise for a bit of a release.

Women are much less likely to try to take their own life. Why? Because they’re better at talking.

If you think someone is struggling, or indeed it could be you, lift the phone and have a chat. You might just be glad you did!

I’ve been trawling through what I’ve written over the past year. Some of it I’d forgotten all about; some I don’t think I’ll ever forget!

Who could have foreseen what would unfold in 2020? We’ve come through a national lock down, stages and tiers as the coronavirus arrived to haunt us!

Government measures brought in to try and control it, resulted in the closure of restaurants, cafes, hotels, and the like and it's been a huge learning curve for those businesses and the people who supply them.

The demand for milk almost disappeared overnight. It was estimated that around 1.5m litres of milk produced each day, but with no regular home to go to.

There are almost 28m households in the UK and while instant coffee, or tea uses around 25 ml of milk, milk for a latte, or cappuccino from a High Street chain uses six or seven times that, per cup.

But it’s during times like these, that farmers prove how resilient and resourceful they can be. People were very quick to panic buy leaving shelves empty, particularly of bread and milk.

If any good has come out of this, perhaps it’s that we’ve had to re-evaluate, restructure and change how we function as a community.

Agriculture is a vital industry and any government going forward should and must allow farming to flourish and feed the nation. We were hailed heroes for keeping the country fed and watered.

And so, you would have expected some sort of pay back. Instead, when MP’s had the chance, they failed to deliver!

The Agriculture Bill was passed to the Lords without an amendment to prevent imported food, produced to an inferior animal welfare standard, than those set here.

Politicians want us to maintain our standards, which are second to none in the rest of the world. We have built a reputation for our products all over the world, whether it be milk, beef, pork, lamb, or whisky.

We can only hope that any new trade deals don’t weaken animal welfare, environmental or food standards.

On a brighter note, we are still ahead of the game when it comes to producing milk. Figures released by AHDB earlier this year revealed Scottish dairy farmers had the highest yielding cows on the mainland in 2019/20. The national average is 8570 litres.

We’ve also much to be proud of in 2020, as members of the Scottish Holstein Club proved. Andrew Neilson, of Overside Holsteins, won the president's medal; Jack Brewster was named Holstein UK’s 'Lifetime Achiever'.

The Sloan family, from Darnlaw, in Ayrshire, also won the RABDF Gold Cup, and John Jamieson, of Firth Holsteins, was named president elect of Holstein UK.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy 2021. It can’t be worse that 2020 … can it?