'ASSURANCE: a positive declaration intended to give confidence; a promise'. That's what the dictionary says, but not, apparently, what a industry temperature gauging survey has found.

When farmers bought in to 'farm assurance' in general, it was to protect the industry against other, external forces that wanted to have their say in how farm livestock and, latterly, grain was produced. It aimed to set a standard, a benchmark for 'quality' of production methods.

Now, it seems, that the industry is fed up of having to comply with a plethora of surveys of its work that adds time and soaks up money to comply with. It's time to get back to basics, they argue.

And they would appear to be right. All assurance schemes set out to add their own stamp to the end product, which is fine, but there are now too many that have a plethora of cross-compliance triggers that it would make sense if someone grabbed a hold of it, shook out the chaff and left what really IS needed to deserve the term 'farm assured'.

That will not be easy, as a whole industry has evolved around giving their own stamp of approval and it's complicated by a mix of aims that range from supermarkets' desires, to those with aspirations of being environmentally friendly. That's all very well, but for a country of the size and agricultural scale of Scotland, it's proving too burdensome.

Every Scottish government that's been voted in since devolution has vowed to cut red tape and yet these utterances seem to have been largely made up of Boris-like porkies. The fact of the matter is that the industry is in danger of being choked by it.

The complexity and compliance criteria for farm assurance has been cited more than once as being a trigger point for farmers' mental health issues. That is not acceptable and all of those involved in such should take that on board, and devote time, energy and money into ensuring that 'assurance' does not impinge on everyday lives the way it does at the moment.

They say that when there's war, all inhibiting factors are thrown out of the window to the production of food. It seems to have been missed by some that there are actually two wars going – the very real and visceral slaughter in Ukraine; and a more insidious one against cost of production inflation closer to home, in each and every field.

At the moment, many farmers view assurance schemes as being in the way of producing food as cheaply as possible. It is an annoyance that gives little or no return ... so why have it?

That's too simplistic, for there needs to certain checks and balances placed upon the industry, but for the love of God can someone not grab this by the scruff of the neck and pare it down to a meaningful and cost-effective treatise which is easily understood, with no frills and where cross compliance between schemes is covered by one inspection visit.

It's time to operate on the KISS principle – Keep It Simple Stupid!