Farmers, crofters and everyone else working in the agricultural industry are doing their best to keep a steady supply of food and drink flowing to the nation during the Covid-19 crisis.
Farms and crofts have always been a place for the public to visit, and during a time when people are stuck at home all day, the temptation to use their neighbouring farm for their daily walk is strong.
Many farms, including the one where I live, experienced an influx of walkers, cyclists and joggers last weekend. And a good weather forecast for this weekend may bring more folk on to farms and crofts.
While, this may seem irritating and annoying to farmers and crofters, we must remember people have a right to access the countryside.
But that access must be exercised responsibly, especially in times of crisis like now, and people should rightly be challenged for traipsing through fields of crops or walking with their dog off the lead in a field of lambing ewes or cows and calves.
At the farm where I live, we have produced a sign encouraging any visitors to respect the government’s strict social distancing rules, stick to the roads, and avoid touching gates.
We have highlighted that not only is the farm a business, but a home, and asked people not to linger in one spot for too long.
The poster states: “We are trying to limit the number of people walking near our farm buildings, or coming into contact with gates, to protect us and our staff from Covid-19. We must remain virus-free to keep feeding our animals.”
I would encourage you to do the same and politely remind people of the risks posed by visiting farms where farmers are busy calving and lambing.
In most cases, people will not be aware that their actions may have an impact on farm businesses and the food production network.
By asking people to avoid coming close to farm buildings and to not touch gates, you are safeguarding your business and family.