SNP Member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Alyn Smith has previewed a meeting with farmers and growers at the NFU Scotland AGM in St Andrews next week where he will outline the benefits of independence for farming and answer questions from the floor.
Speaking from Strasbourg, Alyn said:
"I'm looking forward to the AGM, as ever, and look forward to the craic.
"Long ago, we organised the 'Ask me, Tell me, Chin me' tour where I went around each NFUS branch, and I was asked a lot, told a lot and not chinned once! I've long done my best to be accessible and open to Scotland's farmers - it is an integral part of my job to explain what is going on in Brussels so that we can get the best deal and make the biggest contribution.
"With the independence referendum in 2014 looming, people are asking questions. Real questions, not tired old political point-scoring, but genuine questions about how things will work, how will this affect my community and my business. I'm relishing it, and I've done umpteen meetings up and down the country explaining the mechanics, the process and, more importantly, the reasons why we will do better. The people best placed to make decisions about Scotland's future are the people who live here, and we will do better representing ourselves on the world stage with the full powers of a normal state to reform what needs reformed at home.
"One thing I've always appreciated about the farming brief is that farmers don't hold back. Nor do I, I'm probably too blunt speaking for a politician but I'm not changing now. We've a big decision to make in 2014 and people need a good, long discussion about it. I'm proud to be playing my part."
For more information, see http://www.nfus.org.uk/news/2013/january/politics-centre-stage-nfus-centenary-agm