The debate on Scottish independence is heating up. You may think that I am a fervent supporter of this cause. But just because I will be shouting passionately for Scotland’s rugby team against the auld enemy on 4 February, it does not mean I think our eloquent first minister is right in pursuing his dream.
I can’t believe that while many small countries are clamouring to be part of a larger economic force, Scotland may not only jeopardise its symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with England, there is a real danger we may not even be allowed in the EU.
I know farming in Scotland has had enormous benefits from being devolved from Westminster, but past decisions made about our support mechanisms will prove that Scottish farmers will have a more painful transfer to a new scheme than those of you will experience south of the Border.
Already there are tensions, evident at a recent local meeting, developing between the livestock and arable sectors about how the funds will be distributed. It is clear that most farmers in Scotland are still reliant on their SFP, and they are not just livestock producers.
Just before Christmas, I noticed that my grain store has a sag in its roof line. Closer inspection by a structural engineer reveals the building is repairable. However, I decided I did not want to get into any debate with my insurers about its contents if it falls down with the weight of 3ft of snow I was expecting again this year. So 600t of wheat has been moved at considerable hassle. I hope that caution was the right approach, despite the lack of the white stuff so far this winter. I prefer to enjoy it with friends and family in the mountains on skis in the New Year.
By the way, the Calcutta Cup will be coming back to Scotland.
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Farmer Focus arable Neil Thomson