It is sad news that HM the King is looking to remove most of the Highland cattle and Highland ponies from the Balmoral Estate. The iconic fold has seen success in both the show and sale rings across the country. The connection between the animals and the late Queen brought a sense of pride to the farming community.

These cattle and horses are ideally suited to Balmoral with the estate demonstrating the huge array of benefits from actively managed upland farming which is the bedrock of so many rural communities. There is no better place to show off our proud livestock heritage to the world than a Highland pony by the water of Loch Muick or a Highland heifer in the shadow of Lochnagar. The farming world will be watching closely as to what happens next on Royal Deeside.

Earlier in the week, the revolving door of the UK Government was drawing the nation’s attention. Yet again farming has been shown how little politicians respect the job of feeding the nation. The ex-health secretary and MP for North East Cambridgeshire, Steve Barcley, has been appointed the latest Defra secretary ¬- the 10th appointment since 2023. Most Defra ministers are only just finding their feet in the role when they are either moved onto the next job or shown the door. This is not how we should be running the country.

To do the job properly, a Defra minister must be in post for at least two years, so that they can learn about our industry and help guide the sector on the right path. Farming is a long-term business and needs careful stable planning, which is not delivered by chopping and changing members of the Cabinet every few months.

This week also saw the sobering news of a young tractor driver jailed for a road incident that tragically killed a woman and injured her son. The tractor driver’s phone records show that he was using the device moments before the crash. Sadly, mobile phone use whilst using farm machinery on the road is all too common, but a zero tolerance approach must be taken by the community.

It is incumbent on us all to call people out when we spot them using their phones on a tractor on the road. Working flat out carting silage or taking off grain is no excuse for using your phone, unless we cut it out, tragic accidents like this will remain.