A flood of farms on the market is never a good thing. Whilst agricultural churn has always been a much-needed aspect in farming, it should ideally only be a steady trickle. No doubt there will be opportunities for family farms to grow with more land available, but prices are likely to remain beyond all but the most well-heeled new entrants.

The decision to sell the farm is seldom rushed with most families agonising over the way forward. Farms can only be sold once, and it often spells the end for a long line of farming families.

None of this is new but it is just the pace of change which needs to be investigated. The situation in Dumfries and Galloway is not unique and land availability is strong across much of the country. There is no single issue pushing farmers to chap the For Sale sign up at the end of the road, but there are plenty contributing factors.

Firstly, and most inexcusably, there is the dithering delay from the Scottish Government with a complete lack of farming vision for our industry. As the Welsh Agricultural Bill gains royal ascent, our lot in Edinburgh could not even provide the Scottish Farmer with a timeline for when our farming Bill might come into force, let alone what the content might be. I hope the Minister and her civil servants take seriously the impact their lack of detailed clarity is having on the financial and mental health of those within the sector.

Succession has been cited as another reason for farm sales, with high land prices often hindering the smooth transition of family businesses between generations. Alternative land uses such as tree planting and environmental schemes can also prompt challenging debate on future land use within families and cause sibling consensus to collapse. And with farmers having an ever-growing list of environmental tasks to complete beyond feeding the nation, many people are deciding the job is no longer the right one for them.

It would be far healthier for the sector if a proportion of these farms were made available for rent as opposed to sale. A huge vibrancy would be injected into agriculture if there was a rise in tenanted opportunities. Sadly, again the government is out of step, as their agency, Forestry and Land Scotland is trying to do away with its starter farms and has no plan for replacements. Furthermore, the devolved Crown Estate has started selling off one of their estates in Moray and asked their other tenants to express interest to buy. Mixed opportunities to access land is vital if we are to have a healthy farming sector and boiling down the options to just owner occupiers makes us all the poorer.

On a cheerier note, good luck to all the teams entering the Great Glen Challenge today. I heard rumour of a Scottish Government team, but true to form, they were found up the loch without a paddle.