This week, we discover that Irish farmers are trailblazing a national genotyping programme, English abattoirs are receiving £4m of support, and even the UN is calling for greater meat production to feed the world.

Meanwhile, Scottish farmers are stuck deciphering a growing list of demands that seem to offer them nothing more than a dwindling return for all their hard graft.

It is enough to make us green with envy as we look across to our neighbours in the British Isles.

Nevertheless, it will do the industry no good to be glum and stuck in the doldrums.

Even if the Scottish government appears to be hell-bent on continuing the march of trees onto prime livestock ground in the uplands, the industry must make a stand.

If planting continues at the proposed 18,000 hectares per year, they will have an area the size of Aberdeenshire consumed by conifers, which they call ‘timber’ on the first trees in the ground.

There will no doubt be continued demand for trees with all the reports emanating from COP28. Farmers usually get clobbered by global recommendations but this time the UN food agency has called for increased meat production in countries with a history of efficiency. What better rallying call to Scottish farmers, particularly those working in pigs, poultry, and cereals?

We must take inspiration from England in their commitment to local abattoir facilities and demand that the Food Processing, Marketing, and Co-operation grants be refunded after Holyrood paused the scheme. Small abattoirs punch well above their weight when it comes to their impact on Scotland’s food heritage and reputation.

As people fly less in the future, we must have short supply chains to service a growing tourist sector looking for local produce. Small abattoirs also allow younger and smaller farmers to develop innovative business plans as they market directly to consumers, which enriches all of agriculture.

Looking across the Irish Sea, we must be motivated to invest in livestock genetics. A quick glance at our pedigree sales pages will show Scotland continues to lead the way in providing the best breeding stock, however, there must be no complacency.

Let’s establish some testing stations, à la Ireland and France, to ensure we maintain our premier position. Set up correctly, they would work to complement and verify estimated breeding values in our sheep and cattle sectors.

We are already making progress as recent figures show the number of calves per cow has continued to increase since 2013 thanks to farmer efforts.

Sure, the challenges are piling up, and other land uses might be getting preferential treatment, but fear not. The building blocks are there, so let's take a cue from our farming fraternity around the world and drive those margins and outputs straight to success.