Things must be getting desperate in the Scottish Government when they can’t release the relatively modest sum of £400,000 to hard-pressed west coast hill farmers having lambs eaten by sea eagles.

If only their accounts department had been so hesitant when paying out expenses for iPad roaming charges for holidaying health ministers.

The sums of money being paid out to farmers and crofters only equate to the value of a few fat lambs at current prices. When you realise these predating birds have been reported to take a third of a lamb crop in some flocks, the size of the cheque starts to look insulting.

READ MORE | West coast farmers deem delayed eagle contracts 'unacceptable'

There is a real danger here that the goodwill built up through NatureScot working with farmers and crofters gets washed away. We have seen a huge effort from producers to wind down calls to eradicate the birds, albeit a sentiment with much sympathy.

We see this week Swiss farmers sharing a similar plight having suffered wolves devouring their flocks. The alpine ovine keepers staged a grizzly protest by stacking sheep carcases at the door of regional government offices. Perhaps Douglas Brae could do a drop off at Holyrood to hammer home the need for proper recompense?

Mature discussions have been had around the table, with the greatest efforts being made by farmers and crofters to keep the peace. Unfortunately, NatureScot seems to be stuck in the crossfire, with Edinburgh bureaucrats holding the purse strings whilst pushing regional staff under the bus.

Hopefully, by highlighting the sorry situation, more momentum can build to get compensation payments for dead lambs to a respectable level.

If you believe the RSPB’s figures on the amount of cash these flying barn doors bring into the local economy, then the land managers need a massive jump in payments. If the government continues to get away with giving out token gestures, there is no hope of fair compensation for beaver damage. The idea of lynx reintroduction must be shot on sight.

We cannot keep adding new species to Scotland and crossing our talons. We have nearly 70m people on this island, more than one person for every acre in the country. It is not fair to conduct these species introduction experiments without proper planning and compensation. The countryside is not a plaything for urban dwellers to visit for holidays and weekends.

Not that many folks will be visiting the countryside in this weather. So far, spring seems to have been posted missing, but with longer days and a drying wind, it is incredible how things can turn around.

There could be another U-turn needed over the calving interval rules in the future beef calf scheme. The lesson here for the government is that until there is detail to debate, farmers are far too busy to give feedback on broad plans or loose frameworks. The beef scheme debacle will be like a storm in a teacup compared to the barny approaching when the full detailed rules on the agricultural bill are published.

One area where you don’t need to wait is our refreshed Scottish Farmer. This week, we have updated the paper to present our articles, stories, and reports in the best possible light. As farming and the countryside have changed in our 131 years of existence, it is important that the newspaper continues to evolve as we resolutely support farmers every step of the way.