From the outset, I should state that I am in no doubt that climate change is an issue and one that we as a global population should be tackling – not just for the benefit of our misguided politicians with their own selfish agendas, but for the whole of humanity across the globe.

This is a global issue that needs to be tackled in a way that benefits all creatures that live on this ever evolving planet.

Often I have heard farmers and the organisations representing us say that the policy of signing trade deals with other countries in order to import cheap food is only exporting our carbon footprint.

However, let’s have a more detailed look at what is really meant by the very simplistic term 'exporting our carbon footprint' as I think it is often used without giving consideration to its full meaning.

We are certainly not reducing our own carbon footprint on the planet, indeed I would argue that we are in fact making the problem worse. Much has been said about the amount of rainforest that is disappearing every year, currently around 4.7m ha every year, or an area equivalent to well over twice the size of Wales.

Over the past 50 years, 18% of the rainforest has been chopped down in order to fulfil the appetites of a population many thousands of miles away. Out of sight and out of mind.

Imagine if you will going to your doctor and complaining that you are out of breath and finding it difficult to function as you used to. The doctor tells you: “Sorry, but you have a bug destroying your lungs and as it continues to attack your lungs you will become more sick and breathing will become even more difficult.”

In this instance our desire to 'export our carbon footprint' is the cancer of the rainforest and collectively as a united world population we need to quickly reverse this trend and grow the food we need in areas that have less of a lasting impact on planet earth.

The global demand for soya beans doubled from nearly 180m tonnes in 2003 to 350m tonnes in 2018. To fulfil this demand, Brazil has now overtaken the US as the world's largest exporter of soy and along with Brazilian sugar production to make ethanol for biofuels, this puts Brazil at the top of the 'rogues' league' for damaging the lungs of the planet.

I reiterate, we must all share the blame across the globe because we have created the demand and ready market for these crops.

Closer to home, it is becoming increasingly evident that future support payments will be linked to carbon auditing and as I write this, I am aware that several farming organisations are asking their members for their thoughts regarding a consultation on the practice of carbon trading in response to the UK government’s own consultation on the subject.

The answer is quite simple. STOP IT, ban the trade now. Whatever the original intentions of the practice of carbon trading might have been, I see it as giving dirty businesses the green light to buy there way out of the stigma of being dirty and to carry on exuding sequestrated carbon into the atmosphere.

They do this in full knowledge that the lungs of the planet are day by day losing the ability to clean the air and recapture the carbon our global society is polluting the atmosphere with.

It may appear that the potential winners of carbon trading would be the owners of land where carbon was deposited thousands of years ago.

There is, however, a need to be aware this carries risk – risk that if this carbon is damaged, or destroyed the landowner will be held responsible for its loss whether it be his fault or not. Financial gain of this sort would need to be backed by a comprehensive insurance policy.

In real terms, the ultimate winner will be the tax man benefitting from profits made by landowners with stores of peat beneath their feet, or acres of trees which are carbon sequesters for only a part of the year. In the case of the ash tree, perhaps no more than four months per year in Scottish latitudes.

Much has been said about forthcoming agricultural policy and it worries me that farmers whose expertise has always lain with their ability to grow food to the highest standards are, in addition, going to be expected to learn a new technology.

Most of the farmers I have spoken to are filled with dread and see this as a potential money making exercise for advisory services.

I can well imagine that this subject will give rise to an increase in farmers falling victim to, and trying to come to terms with, mental issues due to stress as to how they are about to tackle carbon auditing.

A problem made worse by the many of us who find themselves increasingly having to work on our own, with no one to talk to and share their burdens with.

If we accept the principle that stored carbon should not be traded, then why, why, why oh why, are we being asked to do carbon audits of the soil beneath our feet. Auditing this carbon will not benefit my business, it will not increase my profits and it will certainly not make me a more efficient food producer.

In order to save the planet, what I do need to know is that my methods of production are being done in the most ecologically friendly way possible. I would be quite happy to receive public money to ensure that I have the help needed to achieve this and am happy to supply information to government about my carbon use and if what I am doing is releasing more carbon into the atmosphere than fellow farmers.

For example, there has been much work done on obtaining figures for how much carbon is released into the atmosphere by merely ploughing the ground and preparing it for the next crop.

When you consider the amount of information that we supply government when filling our Single Application Forms and bi-annual census forms, then they could very quickly workout our carbon footprint and thereby adjust greening payments accordingly.

Or is that a too simplistic way of doing things?

To be honest, I am aghast that none of the farming organisations have thought to challenge government on the role farmers are being expected to play in tackling a what is a global issue. Aghast that none of them has looked at the bigger picture and come up with a simple plan to ensure universal buy-in, which would be the simplest way of tackling how we stop planet earth from being suffocated with CO2 through the actions of man.

I am not singling out any one organisation, as they all lack foresight in regards to the carbon issue and the need to come up with a workable way forward.

I have set out the problems as I see them and hinted as the way to a solution to solving them. It is now up to these organisation’s to come together and put the finer detail together.

We need a simple method of recording the amount carbon primary food producers (farmers) are releasing into the atmosphere, simple enough for a silly old guy like me to buy into and understand.

These organisations are not there to pass on the problems set out by our political masters, they exist in order to improve the lot of their members and ensure their subscriptions are money well spent.

Having come up with a plan, they need to work with our political masters to bring it into being so that everyone on the planet can benefit. Or have they gone so far down the current route that they lack the guts to tell government this current path is taking a sledge hammer to crack a nut.

A more simplistic direction would be more acceptable to the wider farming community, with the possibility of achieving a more positive end result.

* Hamish Waugh farms at Effgill, Westerkirk, near Langholm, in Dumfries-shire.