It's official – under international law, Scottish exports of beef and lamb to the continent increase carbon emissions, yet importing foods from the other side of the world to include lamb from New Zealand, beef from Brazil and almond milk from California are not accountable. This was confirmed at the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW) conference in Edinburgh by government bureaucrats.

This non-sensical rule must be fought tooth and nail by the Scottish Government or they will lose all credibility in the eyes of farmers desperately trying to feed the nation at a time. It is ludicrous that under 'international law' blueberries from Morocco, avocados from central America and bacon from The Netherlands can be imported without technically contributing to Scotland's emission levels.

Beef and Lamb New Zealand, which represents their red meat sector, has already published papers to prove their production has a low carbon impact. Whilst we may feel it is just common sense to back home produce, we need our levy bodies to take a leaf out of the Kiwi’s book and give the industry the facts to defend home production and knock sense into the politicians.

That is if we can get facts on home produce or even simple figures like the size of Scotland’s breeding suckler herd as currently there is no running total for the number of breeding females. If we are to make decisions on the future of the Scottish cattle sector, then quarterly figures must be published on the national breeding herd or farmers will continue to be left in the dark. Every bovine is registered with 28 days of birth, all movements between holdings are recorded and cattle even have individual passports, so surely that is enough information to tell the industry the number of productive cows on farm?

Worrying despite the lack of figures Scotland's suckler cow numbers look to be in decline and a large number of hill sheep farmers are in the process of selling their land for forestry or going into rewilding schemes.

At the SAMW conference the government bureaucrat highlighted the benefits of agri-tourism for farmers who reduce livestock numbers and/or go into rewilding schemes or plant trees. However, as several hill farmers who have already gone into such schemes will agree – there is no improvement in ground nesting bird numbers or small mammal species due to increased number of predators – mink, badgers, sea eagles, ravens and hooded crows.

One hill farmer who had put off his sheep and cattle from certain areas to go down the rewilding route, pointed out that the area which was once well farmed with sheep and cattle and was often admired by tourists is now a scrubby wilderness. It now looks so untidy and unkempt that it is a blight on the landscape. Furthermore, the number of curlews, lapwings and hedgehogs have virtually disappeared.