So, here we are into a New Year. We can only hope that 2022 can shake off the veritable hangovers caused by Brexit and Covid-19 – the debilitating twin terrors of the last two years.

The Chinese have 2022 down as the Year of the Tiger – a symbol of strength, exorcising evils, and braveness. By God, all those may be needed – but let's hope the 'exorcising of evils' ranks highest! But we have a little lead in time as the Chinese New Year does not start until February 1.

So what can we expect of this year of the tiger? For a start, we need a normalisation of life, both in a business and personal way. So far, it's not been a good start, with more Covid-19 regulations and already some important agricultural events have been cancelled or postponed. It has all become a bit too dreary and there must come a time when, in business terms at least, enough is enough for Covid-19 rules and regulations.

But, come what may, this will be a crucial year for farming in Scotland, for this will surely be the time that the industry finds out the levels of support it will receive and how they will be targetted. That last part will be fundamental to the way farm businesses become geared to achieve the ambitious net zero carbon targets set for it.

These are certainly achievable but will need the collective will of government, the Civil Service and farmers themselves to 'make it happen'. Clarity of signal from government must be the name of this game and that will start with a benchmark method of carbon accreditation that is fair, peer reviewed and easily understood.

Once any individual business knows where it stands on this, then the planning can begin to reduce emissions. Government must also take due cognisance of the fact that in some areas, farms will actually be a carbon sink and that their carbon credits must be ringfenced to be used to offset other, high value and high input areas of agriculture – and not sold to the highest bidders like air passenger businesses, car manufacturers and the like.

So far, this clarity of thought has been epitomised by the sterling efforts of those in the Farmer-Led Groups, the gist of which seems to have been lost somewhat in the opaque mists that circulate in the corridors of power. Those who are part of the delivery group, the Agriculture Reform Implementation Oversight Board ARIOB (aka Airbnb!), now seem convinced that change is going to happen very fast. We can only hope that it is so.

Properly funded and specifically targetted, this could be a world-leading agricultural blueprint that delivers on both the maintenance of production and care for the environment. Whatever comes out of these think tanks, the most important aim must be that production is at least maintained and is profitable, for without either of those, the economy of Scotland will shrink and wither on the vine.

If we get it right, though ... watch out, for this industry could become a tiger caught by the tail!