Not a great start to 2022. It was more disappointment, than any great surprise that the AgriScot event planned for early February succumbed to the Covid-19 virus yet again.

The event was being greatly looked forward to as a resumption of the normalisation of the agricultural events' calendar and we must all feel for the organisers who had put so much effort into trying to make it happen.

We can only hope that this is not a portent for the rest of the year, as we are now in the run up to the beginning of a third year of restrictions and cancellations.

Similarly, we can be disappointed that the Oxford Farming Conference did not go ahead as usual this week. This smorgasbord of practical and intellectual discussion was again moved to an on line platform, but there's something about a live event and the backroom chatter that is just as important as the actual programme of speakers.

While it is not a favoured outing for many farmers, there is something about Oxford's pick and mix menu that makes it special. It's also a great way for the various farming lobbyists to harry and influence the great and the good of government decision-makers up front, or behind the scenes – and that cannot be recreated on a laptop.

There must also now be some doubt as to whether some show societies – great and small – would be able to withstand another year with no chance of an income. Already, at least one, Largs Agricultural Society, has decided to call it a day and there will be others out there wondering what to do next.

Farming is a resilient industry and the socio-economic benefits of the events that support it are without question, but there can only be so many times that you can be knocked down before you cannot rise again. Many suspect that even the mighty resources of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society will be in danger should this great event not be able to take place again this year for some reason or other.

While it received assistance from Government, has hosted NHS testing/vaccination centres which helped boost incomes during its 'dry' period, plus taken advantage of the now ended but greatly extended furlough scheme, this is not what it is chartered to provide – despite the prudence of doing so.

So we can only hope that by the time the show season in Scotland really gets underway in April, May and June, that restrictions will have eased. While the economic benefit will be welcome, it is for the social and mental well-being of an industry that, by its own admission 'doesn't get out much', that is really important. Even the smallest of agricultural events can deliver on that ... and that's one of the main reasons why some of the smaller societies, like Largs, should not be pushed into a position where they feel that they have to throw the towel in?

There's a growing train of thought that maybe it is time to draw a line in the sand and allow people to make up their own minds about working from home, staying away from events and maintaining their vaccination programmes?