The tectonic plates of global trade can almost be felt grinding away as the world's supply chain ebbs and flows following the minor (or major, depending on where you sit!) earthquake that Britain's removal from the EU sent shuddering through the shipping lanes.

It's a big, competitive world out there and for a tiny – but proud – food producing nation like Scotland to survive an onslaught of cheap food, from across the world and produced with none of the expensive assurance guarantees given by our various accreditation schemes, then we're going to have to work at it.

From Richard Wright, in his Euro Notebook column (page 9), we read that New Zealand has a covetous eye on carving itself a slice of our lamb market in a new trade deal, not only with the UK but also the EU. That's not surprising given the sustained high prices for lamb and sheepmeat being achieved here – we have put a target on our back with that!

But it won't always be a land of milk and honey for our meat products and so we should not roll over like a coupit yowe for those that would relish a slice of the action.

What can we do about it?

Well, we are facing national and local elections in Scotland on May 6 and it will be in everyone's interest to use their vote for the people that will look after our countryside best – of whatever colour of rosette. So, ask questions of their stance on things like food exports; re-wilding; farm assurance and animal welfare; do they have extreme eating habits and, probably most important of all, what will they do to ensure a vibrant farming sector for the next generation of farmers and consumers?

Ask them if they would rather eat a lamb that was reared 20 miles away, or whether they are quite happy to eat something that comes with an 11,000-mile travel ticket from the Antipodes?

If anything, the last year has taught us that food security is a vitally important issue for the population as a whole, and not just for agriculture. We cannot keep shovelling tonnes of carbon to other parts of the world and then sit smugly saying we have done our bit for 'the planet'. That is not the way it works.

Nor can we begin to rely on steady, sustainable supplies of any food product from areas of political instability. If we lose control of our food chain and its ability to maintain a steady stream of well-reared, locally grown and harvested crops, then it's a certainty that the the next place there will be political unrest will be right here.

All politicians have an agenda. That is a given. But it is in the rural vote that many of their ambitions can be won or lost and so we have a once in a Parliament's lifetime to help them shape that agenda – and some of them really do need direction. So, it's time to ask questions of them – and if you vote them in, remind them of the promises they made before they were elected. Being a pest can pay dividends!

(Look out for our pre-election special in next week's edition).