Over the past week, I have again spent time talking to local farmers about the UK Agriculture Bill and future trade deals with the EU, the US, and other economies around the world.
There has been a lot of confusion surrounding recent votes and on government policy around food and animal welfare standards.
I was keen to shatter some of the myths that are being promoted – mostly on social media.
In particular, I emphasised that food and drink products that are deemed unsafe and in fact illegal to produce, sell and import in the UK will remain so after the end of the EU transition period.
No trade deal, with the United States or anyone else for that matter, can change that.
However, I do share the strong feelings of farmers and consumers on these issues.
That’s why I welcomed the decision this week by the UK Government to extend the Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC) to place it on a full statutory footing.
What that means is that farmers and producers will have a much stronger voice.
This change will empower the TAC to independently scrutinise trade deals before they are finalised.
It will provide a report on the impact of each agreement on UK agriculture and animal welfare prior to debate by MPs in the House of Commons.
By giving the TAC a larger role, the government is further underlining its commitment to maintaining our already high food and animal welfare standards.
The TAC was initially launched for a six-month period in July to bring together voices from across the industry and academia.
Since then, it has heard from dozens of experts on farming, animal welfare, the environment and trade, called for evidence from hundreds of people in the industry and engaged with local farmers, producers, businesses and MPs across the UK.
It will now play an even bigger role in the development of UK trade policy.
That change has been welcomed by NFU Scotland and by campaigners who agreed it is good news for British farmers.
This does not mean there has been any shift in the UK Government’s position, however.
Ministers have said all along that we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare or food standards in any trade deal.
But by strengthening the role of the TAC, I hope that we can provide further reassurance to farmers that their voices will be heard.
There are huge opportunities as we leave the EU to grow our trade with the rest of the world.
We know that our world-famous produce – including beef, salmon, lamb, and whisky – is in demand.
That is a key part of the deal we have already struck with Japan. And it will be a cornerstone of agreements with Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the US and, of course, the EU.
The Agriculture Bill also provides a glimpse of a life beyond the EU’s one-size-fits-none Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
No matter what happens in terms of future trade deals, we will be out of the CAP.
We have the chance to develop our own policies here in Scotland and across the UK that are better suited to our farmers.
The CAP applied the same rules to producers from the Arctic Circle to those in the Mediterranean, which made little sense.