Amidst the unprecedented turmoil of the Scottish political scene, NFU Scotland has attempted to move the focus away from the current Holyrood battlefield on to the forthcoming parliamentary election on May 6.
The farming union’s manifesto unveiled this week lays out a menu of policy imperatives based around a ‘green recovery’.
New NFUS president Martin Kennedy told a press briefing: “Farming is a big part of the solution providing we have the right policies in place for agriculture, climate change and land use.”
There was, however, no escaping the fact that the issue of Scottish independence will be at the forefront of the election campaign, whether or not First Minster Nicola Sturgeon survives her bare-knuckle fight with her predecessor Alex Salmond.
Laying out his approach, Mr Kennedy said: “There is no doubt NFUS will remain 100 per cent apolitical on independence.
“We will inform the debate and do everything we can to highlight the pros and cons. We have to fight for everyone in agriculture.”
Ongoing difficulties in implementing the Brexit agreement were similarly out of the scope of the manifesto.
NFUS chief executive Scott Walker said: “This is political work which will continue during the election campaign without any let up.
“It is clear there is now permanent trade friction and we are putting forward suggestions as to how this will be eased.”
Seed potato exports and issues over tagging of livestock heading for Northern Ireland were only examples, but NFUS was no longer arguing for dynamic alignment with EU regulations in the belief that this was no longer a realistic political prospect.
Vice-president Andrew Connon said the manifesto called for measures which would instil greater long-term confidence in the industry.
He added: “We need new letting vehicles, better support for new entrants and for those wanting to retire. The creation of accessible funding mechanisms will be important.”
His fellow vice-president Robin Traquair, a pig farmer, highlighted the need for further investment in food processing facilities and more emphasis on food security.
Better education about the local food chain would, he believed, result in new market opportunities given adequate government support.
The main thrust, Mr Kennedy said, would be to encourage whichever government was in place in Scotland after May 6 to support active farming and crofting.