We might be daft, but the words 'agriculture' and 'farming' were scarce commodities in the much vaunted 'Fairer, greener Scotland: Programme for Government' document released this week. In fact, you'd be hard pushed to find them at all.

Meanwhile, the word 'green' is there by the tanker load. It would have been nice if the two had been conjoined at some point, given that the industry provides much of the 'green' in Scotland and very much sees itself as playing a massive role in this country's ambitions to reach net zero carbon by 2035.

There are some massive numbers involved in this that might yet mean that agriculture can by included in the 'Just Transition' funding packages, which are being championed as the route to zero. It would just have been appropriate if farming's ambitions could have been specified as part of the 'Green Jobs Fund' too. Training and technology will play a huge role in attaining any of the green targets and those are crucial areas that farming will need to fully embrace if it reaches the goals that it aspires to, but it was not specifically named as part of that – and it should have been.

One of the headlines included in the report is that it seeks to create 'A land of opportunities' and so maybe a bit more recognition for the word 'land' would have been helpful. Due cognisance of the fact that a thriving rural economy is central to the wider economy of Scotland needs to be part of this as it is, after all, a significant contributor to our GDP that should be ignored at politicians' peril. This industry is a main driver for the economy and deserves to be treated better in any plans for the future.

Time to help

Brexit, labour shortages, and the vilification of agriculture as a polluter means that there's a growing burden on the people who make up this industry that is weighing heavy on them, causing distress and anxiety where none would be felt if they felt more valued (as prefaced on our front page story this week).

That is why the work of our flagship rural charity, RSABI, is so important and it was fantastic to see fund raisers top up its coffers to the tune of more than £20,000 during its 'Virtual' Great Glen Challenge. Most of us will know someone who has been helped through a crisis, comforted through sadness and loss, and supported financially if it was appropriate by RSABI – but the vast majorty might not actually be aware of it happening because the work of its care workers and volunteers behind the scenes is largely unseen as a result of its sensitive and private nature.

This charity is an unsung hero that deserves your help. As the saying goes, this is 'not just for Christmas' and so year round support is necessary to keep it operating to the level that it does and aspires to.