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Regional Manager's Blog - 24 June 2019

Well, what a wonderful record-breaking 2019 Royal Highland Show exclaims Ayrshire Regional Manager Christine Cuthbertson who urges us to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.  She writes:

My heart bursts with pride after such an event.  What a fantastic farming industry we have - the livestock and crops, the food, the technology and the people.

I adore farmers and crofters and the great news is that I am not alone.

Scottish Government research launched just before the show suggests that 83% of Scots believe that farming provides an essential public service and a further 86% believe that the industry is critical to the success of the Scottish economy.

Yet many chats at the show included the words ‘vegan’ and ‘climate change’.

So my question is, if you walked into a party of a hundred people and 90 folk loved you and 10 hated you, would you spend the whole night hanging out and talking with 10 who didn’t like you?

Of course you wouldn’t!  You spend the night having great fun with those who like you and not bother about those whose opinions you will never change.

So why are we spending so much time focussing on those who are so critical of our industry? I think I know the reason.

I have spoken out before on my own mental health issues, where bullying in my younger years caused my default position to be so highly critical and negative about myself that I almost internally combusted.  No matter how many positive comments people would give me, I could only hear that negative inner voice.

I think the farming industry has been bullied so much over the last 25 years by certain groups, that we just fail to see the reality, which is that the majority of the population think we are wonderful.

It took me a long time to realise my own personal positives. I am kind, fun, helpful and knowledgeable and to shut off the negative inner critic.  Scottish farming must do the same.  It is hard working, innovative, with great produce, exceptional standards and tremendous stewardship of our countryside.

Someone said to me just the other week that NFU Scotland should be chastising the aviation industry about its contribution to climate change.  Seriously? Why on earth would we spend our precious time and resources criticising and bullying another fellow industry that we know very little about? Do you ever hear British Airways berating agriculture? Of course not!

I have realised that spending time doing positive things with positive people is the best way to have a good life, and Scottish farmers and crofters must continue to do the same by embracing those who love us.

The enthusiasm of 400 school kids at Galston primary last week as they participated in the Royal Highland Educational Trust tractor tour to celebrate this wonderful charity’s 20th anniversary was just amazing.  The children they were so excited to see all the tractors and meet the farmers. This is what we should be doing more of and embracing the power of positivity.

Now, I am not saying we should completely ignore those who continue to lobby against us, and we must redress when there is misrepresentation of our wonderful industry, but why use up our energy hating the haters?

Let’s spend our time listening and working with the majority, so we can continue to meet, and exceed the expectations of the Scottish public today, tomorrow, and in the future.

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