As the summer drifts by despite the serious lack of sunshine life is good in the north, with kids home for the summer and new staff settling in and with more on the way we do feel under control, a feeling that we could get used to.

Fiona and I feel very fortunate that all four of our children aged 16-22 are showing an interest in what we do as a business, they all contribute in different ways and bring different skills to the operation

Who knows what they will end up doing but as part of our Highland Agritourism monitor farm project, succession has been something that we have been keen to explore in a little more detail.

Earlier in the year our whole family sat down with AgTMF facilitator Caroline Millar to discuss succession, we thought we were more or less there between Mum and Dad and ourselves but as it turned out we had a few outstanding actions which required attention.

Following that meeting which was really informative for all three generations, we lined up lawyers and accountants at the same time, again this was a positive experience we were able to talk through any issues and concerns we had. Next step is to action the recommendations which we are waiting for and then we can allocate some time to what Fiona and I might do as we bring the next generation into the business.

Being quite honest at this stage we don’t know how we are going to do it but creating opportunity for as many of our kids as possible to get involved is something we feel strongly about. If they are keen, great, if there not and want to pursue other interests in life of course we will support them to fulfill their dreams.

In practical terms what we can do is engage them in the discussion with our professional advisors, we have another meeting scheduled for the summer holidays and look forward to sitting down again bringing them further into the discussion.

Speaking of advisors we have Trevor Cook coming over from NZ later this month to see us and other farmers, he is without doubt one of the most able minds in our industry who has for ten years now been helping us as a business.

He’s also mentored me in that time, something that I have found really valuable and as time goes on I have learnt a lot from people like him who are able to offer guidance from an impartial stance.

Of course learning is one of Farmstrong Scotland’s five ways to wellbeing and its without doubt something that has helped me over the years.

Whilst we are on the subject of Ways to Wellbeing I certainly ticked the other four off at the Royal Highland Show!

Wow that was some event on so many different levels, we had a great time as a family connecting with old friends whilst making many new acquaintances.

Three out of four kids partied to the max and were on half power for the week following whilst the youngest was like a young beast on the halter for the first time.

He was pulling pretty hard and there were times when we felt like he might take off but we managed to keep a grip of him but by next year we will need to slip the rope and let him run free with the rest of the young team.

We are already looking forward to next year and must make sure we allocate more time, two days just wasn’t enough to accommodate everything that we wanted to see and do.

I realise there’s been a fair bit of chat in the press and online about the show, some of it responsible and some of it less so, my plea for next year to those in positions of responsibility would be to gauge where the industry is at. On the back of one of the worst winter/spring periods in living memory did we rely need a series of negative articles and click bait stories?

Whilst journalists of course have a responsibility to report what’s happening in the industry they also have a duty of care to those of us who are at the coal face. Following a long hard week sitting down with a refreshment of choice and suitable reading material is something that should be an uplifting experience, lets highlight all that’s good in our industry and minimise the negatives.

In terms of positives you just don’t find anyone more positive that Cammy Wilson of the Sheep Game fame, if duracel batteries still did an advert on TV surely the bunnies would be sidelined and he would get the gig!

His FED by farmers podcasts with the long suffering Iona are a brilliant listen, hearing Alan Laidlaw chatting about the challenges they face at the show and how they have and will continue to overcome them was possibly the best explanation I have heard regarding the financial situation at the show.

Farmstrong had a proper stand at the show this year and we felt like we had grown up and matured as an organisation, we had fantastic engagement with farmers and crofters over the duration of the show and Alix and the team were buzzing at the debrief meeting.

Following up on all the ideas and contacts may take them some time but keep an eye out folks there will be plenty opportunity to engage with the programme on various levels in coming weeks and months.

If you missed out on our merchandise, including the must have pink shades, keep an eye out for us at some of the regional shows over the summer, the team will be on hand and look forward to chatting with you.

Whilst pink isn’t usually my colour the afore mentioned shades and accompanying FSS pink hat allowed me to blend in seamlessly at Hampden last Friday night where as part of my 50th celebrations Fiona took me to see Pink in concert.

It was a tremendous performance by an artist who is without doubt one of the best, the energy with which she held the stage and the air (theirs an aerial element) was on another level.

The farmer in me couldn’t help do the math’s, she drew a huge crowd of 45,000 passionate fans each night who sang danced and celebrated whilst paying on average £120 for four hours entertainment.

It may surprise you to hear that I’m no expert in this field, it was after all only my fourth concert, Big Country and Runrig in my teens are a distant memory and my Bryan Adams experience had the shine knocked off it by the vegan propaganda stand that myself and farmer friends found early in the evening.

However the money involved is apparently similar for other such events and the Murrayfield rugby experience is in the same price bracket with albeit variable customer experience.

Just like the Royal Highland show those that attended the Pink concert were from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, every one of them bounced out of the stadium smiling and content that they had received value for money, they didn’t even question the ticket price.

On reflection as I left the Highland show I felt the same as I did as I left the concert, to the show organiser’s well done, by all means keep working away behind the scenes to make things better but more of the same please, like Pink, its awesome!