More than three-quarters (76%) of farmers feel fairly or very optimistic about their business prospects in the next six months – despite the obvious challenges caused by a lack of summer rain.

That’s according to the Farming Sentiment Index, conducted in July by Farmers Weekly.

In the longer term, optimism is tempered by uncertainty no doubt linked to the general expectation that input costs are expected by most to increase over the next 12 months (89%), with fewer farmers (51%) anticipating any improvement in the price they are paid for their outputs.

The 2018 Scottish Rural Parliament will take place in Stranraer in Dumfries and Galloway on 14th– 16th November. If you live in or are passionate about rural areas in Scotland, you can attend to learn and make your voice heard. This year's theme is "Taking Action".

The event brings together people from rural communities with decision-makers, for three days of celebration and exploration. Participants examine a wide-range of issues affecting rural communities and make recommendations for change.

The search is on to find beef and sheep farms around Scotland worthy of receiving one of two high profile awards.

The AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year and AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year awards are sponsored by Thorntons Solicitors and supported by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS). Each year they set out to find, and reward, Scottish farms which showcase the best in beef cattle and sheep production.

There has in recent years been a growing realisation that, in northwest Europe (and in other parts of the world too), numbers of the Eurasian Curlew have fallen drastically.

Following a flood of entries at the Royal Highland show and the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust Game Fair, Scottish Land and Estates (SLE) has extended the entry deadline for its Helping it Happen awards until 20th July.

Stirling’s successful online local food market has vowed to continue following the shock announcement that The Food Assembly will be pulling out of the UK in September. 

The Scotland Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC) scheme was established three years ago, and since then the initiative has seen agricultural vehicle theft costs fall by 48%, while an extra £135,000 has been spent providing specialised rural crime detection training.

This fall in thefts of tractors quads and other agricultural vehicles in Scotland is in contrast to NFU Mutual’s latest claim statistics for the whole of the UK – which show that cost of rural theft rose by 13.4% in 2017.

In this new Foundation Apprenticeship opportunity, pupils will have the chance to work in SRUC’s laboratories and the college’s Rural Skills outreach programme will see lecturers deliver classes in East Lothian two days a week.

During a visit to the SRUC stand at the Royal Highland Show, Jamie Hepburn, Scotland’s Employability and Skills Minister, praised the scheme.

One of the most prestigious benchmarks of success in Scotland’s countryside, the Scottish Rural Awards are now in their fifth year and are partnered by Scottish Field and the Scottish Countryside Alliance.

A set of 13 categories are open for nominations, including the coveted Rural Hero award, which recognises those whose contributions to their rural communities have gone above and beyond the call of duty.

The Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) is led by farmers across the UK with a passion for sustainable farming and nature and they seek to unite farmers who have a sustainable outlook. The NFFN also works to secure positive changes in policy, including how farming is supported by the public.

Offering a 'new vision' for the future of Scottish agriculture, a group of farmers have used the Royal Highland Show as their forum to launch a Nature Friendly Farming Network in Scotland for the first time.