So much hot air...

AS the froth settled on the hot air coming out of the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, this week, it was clear that agriculture was being unfairly picked out yet again as a major contributor of greenhouse gases.

A discussion on methane production singled out livestock farming as being a big baddie in this respect, much to the chagrin of industry leaders in Scotland, who rightly argued that we are being unfairly pilloried by being coated with the same tarry brush as the massive feed lots across The Pond and in other parts of the world.

Martin Kennedy played a highly presidential role in trying to get a more measured view across in a video released this week by NFU Scotland. It was excellent and really brought home just how much farming can be as much part of the solution as being part of any perceived problem. It has to be suspected, though, that however salient and sensible this was, it will not be seen by a wider audience and there will still be those whose opinion will not be swayed from their anti-farming zeal.

But, the major fear must now be that the 'methane' issue will be used as the big stick that will whack us to drive down livestock numbers in Scotland, as it might just be the hook that zealots will use to hang a noose around our national herd.

As Martin pointed out in the video – as indeed so does an SAYFC-led but all-industry letter on page 10 – the auditing used to quantify methane production and to add lead-weight to that big stick, is fundamentally flawed. It's time for the Scottish Government to step up to the plate, accept this argument and debate it with a wider audience – that is, of course, unless those flaws actually play into what it really wants?

Meanwhile, while the rump end of the industry was being kicked up and down the streets of Glasgow, the most potent emitters of greenhouse gases – fossil fuels and the very many countries that rely on them for power – were not seen as such an easy target. The fact remains: We are soft touch – and it would appear that the power of the dollar from transport, power companies and mining, holds more sway.

Out and about

SOMETHING more positive! It was good to be out and about again at a 'real' farming event and the Borderway Agri Expo provided a fantastic antidote to the depression of cancelled events for what is now approaching two years.

Great to see that the industry has lost none of its ability to produce livestock in the very best of condition and with the added 'extra' that really good stocks-people can bring out in them.

Hats off to the organisers, too, for hosting such a vibrant event. It was a great fore-runner to the Stars of the Future event, at UA Stirling, on February 12 (evening for young handlers) and 13 (main show day); and to LiveScot on November 27, in Lanark, hosted by Lawrie and Symington. Hope to see you there ...

The Pre-COP26 personal video message recorded by NFU Scotland’s President Martin Kennedy – available to view here