Not much, if anything, has been in the Scottish press about the support the Scottish government is giving farmers who have been affected by the severe weather in recent months, so I thought I would bring it to your attention.
Many people forget that there is a strong farming tradition in Scotland, both north and south of the central belt. Our farming communities are vital to the country's economy and this year, being the hardest winter for 50 years, has caused particular hardship to many livestock farmers.
Recently the Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead, told the National Farmers Union Scotland that £3 million would be given to the industry to off-set additional costs to farmers forced to move livestock during the depth of winter.
An additional £250,000 is to be give to educate school children across Scotland on the link between farming and the food on their plates. It's a sad state of affairs that many of today's children have no idea of their food sources but the blame lies with parents. There has never been so much information available in my lifetime, yet we have children don't have a clue where a pork chop or a runner bean comes from.
The Scottish government are also providing £1.4 million for land-based skills development and training and almost £400,000 for a five-year development programme to boost the £12 million raspberry industry which has been in declined in recent years due to imports. Scottish raspberries are the best berries in the world and this investment will help the industry upgrade their production processes.
I have pleasure in congratulating the Scottish government for investing in agriculture, not least because it is the mainstay of so many local economies.