Farmer Focus: Roof collapses around Neil Thomson

The collapse and damage of several farm buildings in the area caused by the recent record snowfall pales into insignificance when you compare it with the plight of the Haitian people.

However, the hassle some farmers are having with their insurers must make for a few sleepless nights.

We have been lucky; only the shelter above our cattle handling pens succumbed. My good friend had a narrow escape when his grain store containing several hundred tons of wheat collapsed only seconds after he left the building.

Another (well-known) neighbour, keen to help the electricity men restore his power with the use of his tractor, hurriedly reversed it out of the shed, forgetting that the fourth and missing wheel was elsewhere.

There has been so much snow that long-forgotten skidoos were returned to service so the local hill farmers could get to their outlying sheep. I don’t know how the delegates at the Copenhagen climate change conference did it, but whatever switch they hit, bingo! Global warming solved?

The reappearance of green in the landscape was a pleasant change. It will, however, be a while before you can comfortably walk in a field, far less drive on one. We are waiting for some fields to be GPS soil sampled, and I am concerned about time marching on before we get the recommendations back.

There will be winners and losers after 2013, according to Brian Pack, who is leading an inquiry into the future of agriculture payments for the Scottish government. This, he says, would make their distribution more equitable.

Does this mean that those people with tens of thousands of acres of very rough grazing land should be the winners? I can see some lively discussion ahead!

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