It is good to see eventual progress from the Scottish Government on future rules for farming. When 2025 comes around, it will be almost nine years since the vote to leave the EU, which was delivered during Royal Highland Show week – thus forming the main talking point of the show.

So, with a near decade of refining our farming future, there is no excuse not to get it right. But the slow progress has rankled, as farmers and crofters have been bogged down by government indecision. How can you decide to build a shed, take on more land, or even pass the farm to the next generation without a clue to what is to replace 43 years of EU framework and support payments?

Perhaps Martin Kennedy is correct when he advocates that heading slowly in the right direction is better than heading quickly the wrong way. Looking south of the Border should make everyone in Scotland anxious. Time is a luxury farmers never have and, every family farm has to keep looking to the future whilst at the same moment dealing with the challenges of the day. If farmers had to form countless committees to make a decision, the tractor engine would never be turned and animals would never be fed.

Would it be too cynical to suggest that ScotGov deliberately put the brakes on progress to smooth a bid to re-join the EU? Our First Minister wants another independence referendum next year and if successful the hope is to be welcomed back to the EU fold. That would be easier if our farming rules remain largely unchanged from the day we left.

Regarding the £51m National Test Programme, farmers must arm themselves with facts on our farming systems for the ‘great climate debate’. We can’t just bang the table and expect people to listen when we tell them Scottish farming is green by definition. Love them or loathe them, carbon audits will be a necessary evil if we are to defend food production against anti-farming sentiment. Sadly, only after the catastrophe in Ukraine are people recognising that agriculture is needed to feed the world.

There is lots of talk about ‘conditionality’ which seems to be the new buzz word for rules or regulations, so there will be even more requirements when drawing down support payments than before. Some of rules might be welcome – as we revealed last week some ‘farmers’ have to do scandalously little to receive government handouts – but history tells us that too many conditions will make farmers simply walk away. The balance must be right and the rules relevant to make it work.

Do not ask a farmer, who is up in the middle of the night calving a cow, if he gives a damn about increasing weaning percentages, he wouldn't be there if he didn't! Given the lack of success of the Beef Efficiency Scheme, the government has precious little credibility to waste.

But there are encouraging reports from talk behind closed doors. Privately, Government ministers appear to back the need to keep critical mass for the industry and understand that strangling agriculture will kill the countryside. But as everyone knows, talk is cheap and now is the time for action.