Sir, – Since I wrote a letter to The SF about the many issues around the way assurance organisations conduct themselves, a meeting chaired by NFUS vice-president Andrew Connon was held earlier in the year, with about 60 farmers from all over Scotland raising well justified issues.

These business owners cannot all be wrong, as many have managed very successful businesses for more than a generation. Therefore, are these assurance organisations actually right in what they say and do?

I received many verbal and written supportive comments since the publication of my letter and recently received a note sent unsigned. Sadly, like so many farmers, this author writes a brilliant letter and knows the facts, but is afraid to publicly speak out.

We, as farmers, are all trapped and are intimidated by assurance organisations and inspectors, and are afraid to stand up for justice and common sense, for fear of being victimised.

As I was told by a fellow farmer many years ago 'everything is fine until something goes wrong, or someone makes a genuine error for whatever reason'.

Now, as we all know, we can all make mistakes and this can happen to anyone in any business. The key is how the error is rectified and how the matter is dealt with by the offending farmer and the assurance scheme inspectorate.

An united approach, where all parties work together to help guide the farmer to mitigate the error and resolve the problem, is what is required, instead of a militant, cold approach enacted by so many assurance organisations. Do they not recognize the effect this has upon mental well being of the farmer and family members? I think not!

What we need is real leadership from lobbyists and organisations so that we can operate together with maximum benefit for our industry. Why can we not all agree to tackle the really important issues which matter, instead of dealing with trivia?

There must be a better way forward instead of just inflicting so much pain and unnecessary stress upon our farmers and their family members. Any strong and willing leaders out there should step forward now, as we have a big job to be done here.

Patrick Sleigh

West Fingask,