Unquestionably, it's been the worst spring ever.

I haven’t seen the official Met Office data yet, but it is certainly the worst I’ve ever experienced. No growth has been replaced by slow growth, and once again the fields are soaking.

The grass on exposed, wet ground is turning blue again with night frosts continuing. It was 1.5°C here on Saturday night and only 7°C at lunchtime on May 24 with cold, wet sleety showers shrouding the hills.

Nothing that needs heat to thrive can be doing in this weather and with less than four weeks to go until the longest day 80% of our cattle are still inside! For our own sanity, humans also need some sunshine and some heat to lift the spirits after a very long winter.

Meanwhile, we have a new SNP Government in Scotland and a new Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Islands in Mairi Gougeon. It’s disappointing to lose Fergus Ewing, as he gave his all in support of active farming and food production. But politics is a tough old game and life moves on – 'The King is dead ... long live the King”!

I’ve never met Mairi, but I’m told by those who have that she is very approachable and has done a power of work for her rural Angus and Mearns constituency over the years. She takes over the brief at a pivotal and defining moment for Scottish agriculture and, indeed the rural economy it supports, with her ‘in-box’ bulging as a result.

The impacts of Brexit continue to cause issues that show no sign of being resolved. The ending of the CAP as a result of our exit from Europe, coupled with the drive for free trade deals by the UK Government, could be seen as opportunities, but only if the detail supports the political aspirations and media sound bites and so far that hasn’t happened.

There is a raft of legislation being forced on farming from animal transport rules to use of fertiliser, storage of slurry and many others which, if implemented as some would wish, will pose a serious threat to the viability of many farm businesses around Scotland.

Then there is climate change and the legally binding targets introduced by the previous SNP Government to reduce emissions across all walks of life including, crucially, agriculture. This was the driver for the establishment of the farmer-led groups to tackle this issue and to exploit the opportunity of transitioning away from the rigid, inflexible regulations that governed us under the CAP system.

The SNP manifesto committed the new Government to: "Support farmers to produce more of our own food needs sustainably and to farm … with nature, including through enhanced animal welfare and health approaches and better adoption and deployment of technology and innovation, as recommended by the recent work of the farmer led groups set up in the last parliament.

"A single implementation board with representation from all farming sectors and types will be established to drive this work forward.'

“We remain committed to supporting active farming and food production with direct payments. By 2025, however, we will shift half of all funding for farming and crofting from unconditional to conditional support and there will be targeted outcomes for biodiversity gains and a drive towards low carbon approaches, which improve resilience, efficiency and profitability.”

And in the SNP ‘First Steps’ Document for the first 100 days of the new administration, there is a commitment to: “Establish the integrated implementation board to develop new proposals for sustainable farming support and drive forward the recommendations of the farmer-led groups. This will include consulting on proposals for a sustainable suckler beef scheme.”

So, both of these documents are absolutely unequivocal and on the face of it look extremely positive for the future of the work of our farmer led groups. As ever, however, the devil will be in the detail, as we found to our cost in the suckler implementation board before the election.

First, the bombshell of the now well-publicised plans to cut the Scottish suckler herd. And then the deliberate blocking of our proposals for a sustainable suckler beef scheme by officials, contrary to the instructions of the then Cabinet Secretary.

So, the current incumbents of the senior agriculture policy roles in ScotGov have made their position in all this crystal clear and as such, have lost the credibility and trust needed to drive and deliver the new government’s clear policy agenda.

Therefore, if our new Cabinet Secretary is to fulfil the pledges of the manifesto and the first 100 days in government plan, and I have no doubt she will, I wonder how that will be done? And indeed, who will do it?

I know there is a willingness, indeed, enthusiasm from all the FLGs to finish the job we started, partly because there is no credible alternative being offered. But Government has to lead this and really want to do it.

Our experiences of the proposed suckler scheme are simply untenable. We were there to support and advise officials. In the event we ended up dragging some of the senior ones kicking and screaming to the party, while we did most of the work.

In all my years of being involved, or understanding how the 'system' works, I have never witnessed or experienced anything quite like it.

This will take a Herculean effort to meet the challenges posed by the Scottish climate change targets, so we need everyone, politicians, officials, advisors, implementation boards and, most importantly, farmers to pull together or we will fail and the whole country will suffer as a result. We can’t afford to fail and with the right leadership, and commitment we won’t.

As a footnote, it was this type of commitment that was demonstrated in spades back in 1998 in the darkest days of the BSE crisis.

I remember being invited to the Gaiety Theatre, in Ayr, by Iain Wallace to support the 'Best Show Ever' event that he and other friends and colleagues had decided to stage in support of CLIC Sargent Cancer Care. And what a fabulous event it was for the audience and cast alike, with thousands of pounds raised for this worthy cause.

Well folks, 23 years on and you can re-live this variety show on Youtube with any money donated going to another great cause, RHET.

Check it out, it’s great fun and the spirit shown at that time is exactly the type of spirit we need to demonstrate now to find the solution we need to combat climate change without resorting to suckler cow genocide!