After nearly 25 years, the historic LFASS scheme appears to be on the shakiest of ground. It has been wobbling for some time, but without an ‘oven-ready deal’ (to borrow a phrase), ministers have run to the hills when given the chance for significant reform.

The debate at the show illustrated a growing consensus among the chief architects of farm support reform to scrap the scheme. Perhaps ripping up the rules is the lesser of two evils, but the lack of consensus on a replacement is a worrying position.

The RSPB was refreshingly frank with its plans for hill farming and its desire to turn the current payment structure on its head, aiming to reward the least intensive producers who focus on nature. This might not be in keeping with many farmers and crofters, but at least their mission is clear.

Some within the crofting communities also feel they get a poor deal out of LFASS, with their smaller units generating modest payments. However, LFASS will be critical to many larger crofters who generate most of their income from the land.

NFUS appears to be joining the call to toss the ‘very historic and very complicated scheme’, as they call it, but not without caveats on the replacement supporting active farming and crofting.

Any future scheme is likely to feel a pull on the money to go further up the hill to underpin businesses and environmental gain. This can put money into the most fragile communities, but overcompensation is a fear, so tying payments to animals and crops is the simplest way to focus cash on real farmers and crofters.

Perhaps agreeing that LFASS has run its course is the only way to generate a real debate about a replacement. But without consensus on an alternative, we could be adding to the uncertainty currently clouding the farming world.

It is a bittersweet week for our fellow farmers across the North Sea in Denmark. On one hand, their scientists have developed actual biodegradable plastic made from barley and sugar beet. Welcome news indeed, as anyone who lives beside a main road knows only too well the amount of plastic rubbish generated by the public who jettison packets and bottles as they travel the country.

However, Danish livestock farmers will be angry at the €100 cow tax, which is due to land in a few years’ time. Taxing livestock for their emissions while omitting the carbon sequestration from the farms they are reared on is unfair. Plus, why are livestock being singled out over other foods? Surely ultra-processed products engineered from ingredients across the globe generate lots of emissions in their factories, boats, and planes. If Danish beef is pushed off the plate and replaced by imports from countries degrading their natural environment, will future generations think the move was wise?

This is exactly why we need to work harder on improving our carbon calculators and understand the emissions generated and offset by the agricultural industry. To this day, we still do not have an agreed calculator in Scotland that accounts for all farm activity. Our representative and levy bodies must be on the front foot to defend the industry, as many others will be inspired by Denmark for all the wrong reasons.

There is a lot of carbon auditing and baseline measuring happening on farms sector at the moment. But there are massive concerns about where this data is going and how it can be utilised to show the industry in a fair light. I understand many of these programs could end up on a dusty shelf next to other failed exercises like the Beef Efficiency Scheme.

The Danish cow tax has to be a wake-up call to our industry to get the figures to defend against unfair persecution.