Our hearts go out to the Nairns of Balnabroich, who have had their sheep flock ravaged by ravens.

The number of lambs taken by these huge brutes is threatening the viability of the sheep enterprise on their farm. While a licence was swiftly granted by NatureScot, the number of birds permitted to be shot was woefully inadequate.

These clever corvids are difficult to control at the best of times, let alone in the middle of a hectic lambing season. A year-round approach must be considered so that throngs of these passerine predators don’t appear licking their beaks every spring.

We have explained to the powers-that-be until we are blue in the face that the Scottish countryside has been managed for hundreds of years, and farmers and crofters need to be allowed to take an active role to ensure biodiversity is kept diverse. If they want to live in an untouched wilderness, then book a one-way ticket to Siberia, as Scotland doesn’t work like that.

READ MORE | Raven attacks plague farmers as lambing season ends

One hot ticket this week was for the Scottish Land and Estates annual conference. The Edinburgh event is quickly establishing itself as a go-to event for the industry and quite rightly attracted a capacity audience for the well-run event.

Theme of resilience is a word we hear often, but with the volatility of the last few years, it is much needed. This is not just something to test farm businesses when facing unprecedented weather patterns or rocketing input costs, but also on a personal level, as the most important thing in any business is the people who work in it.

Concerns about the sheer tsunami of legislation the sector is facing were expressed repeatedly, especially around the ongoing process of land reform. With senior figures from both Labour and the SNP giving keynote speeches, it is hoped they also took away the strong message from the industry that change—if it is truly necessary—must be brought about very carefully and not to achieve arbitrary targets on land ownership.

It seems down-under, the Australians want to move their climate targets for the beef sector to make hitting them more achievable. Being carbon neutral as opposed to net-zero seems to be an option for 2030 with little change in farming practices. Their sheep sector goes one step further and thinks they might be carbon negative.

Our red meat organisations must forensically study the Australian approach, either to debunk any tall tales or pick out the best bits for our own strategy.

We cannot afford to sit back and assume shouting ‘we are green already’ will be enough to safeguard the sector. Scottish farmers have never been known to be on the back foot, and when it comes to climate change claims, we need to be at the front of the pack.

Since the Westminster government sold us down the shipping lane with their Australian open-door trade deal, it is possible Aussie beef and lamb appears on our shelves claiming to be greener than Patrick Harvey’s hemp sandals.

Put simply we cannot allow this to happen.