Discovering this week that the store cattle had broken their water trough meant the festive celebrations were definitely over.
I’m also in self-isolation, due to a close friend having Covid-19, so I cannot get a new trough.
It is a case of make do and mend as I can’t leave the farm and everything takes so long when you’re on your own.
The big news for the industry came on Christmas Eve and, after four years, a trade deal is done and Brexit is history.
I remember watching BBC Question Time in 2016 and a journalist said it won’t be as good or as bad as expected and 20 years’ down the road we will wonder what all the fuss was about.
Well, so far that seems to be the case – unless a clanger gets dropped on us.
Seed tatties to Europe and ewe lambs to Ireland are the main cause for concern.
The potato growers remain hopeful a deal will be done because the product and health status of Scottish seed is wanted and the problems can be overcome. The ewe lambs will hopefully go the same way.
The first lorryload of lamb has crossed the Channel relatively smoothly, but took 10 hours longer due to various checks and inspections. A bit like me this morning with the water trough.
Right from the start, NFU Scotland (NFUS) fought for free trade and no tariffs and that’s what we seem to have.
Well done to all the top team for their hard work and diligence.
Given the number of times negotiations were extended, it looked like a no-deal – and the consequences that would bring – until the last minute. You’ve done a great job lobbying on our behalf, NFUS.
Can you imagine the extra burden on our businesses with 40% to 60% tariffs on exports and imports? It would have made everything we produce unprofitable.
If ever there was a time to applaud the value we get as NFUS members it’s now.
The few hundred I spend on subscription has saved me thousands due to NFUS lobbying on my behalf plus I’m getting 18% off my new pickup. That’s what I call value for money.
With NFUS elections taking place next month, I would like to thank our outgoing president Andrew McCornick for all his hard work over the last four years and before that, and wish president elect Martin Kennedy all the best in his time.
With all the challenges of climate change, carbon footprint, land use strategy, predator control and future funding coming down the road at us, there is no one better to lead us through it than Martin.
I wish to also thank Charlie Adam, our retiring vice-president, who has been on the board for 10 years and, with great support from Mrs Adam, still had time to run the farm at home with no additional staff. A well-deserved break is long overdue.
I would like to wish the four contenders for the two vice-presidential places all the best. Our local man is Andrew Connon, from Ellon, and he is familiar to most of us and well capable of representing our needs and requirements.
Most importantly, in the coming weeks, we all need to stay safe.
Covid-19 has come back with a vengeance. I have family and friends who have now tested positive despite all having been very diligent in adhering to all the regulations. It is so easy to catch – it’s everywhere.
My experience when shopping for Christmas dinner was that local, smaller outlets couldn’t have been more helpful in making sure everyone was safe. It felt like they were really looking out for and appreciating their customers.
So, stay safe, buy local and have a Happy New Year.
- Cameron McIver is NFU Scotland’s regional chairman for the Highlands.