One of the best marketing ideas to appear in this industry for many a year is the NFU's little red tractor symbol. It got off to a good start. It is timely and appropriate, and it has a much greater worth than that attributed to it by cynics who dismissed it as being merely another Downing Street photo opportunity for Tony Blair. Yet, if the ever active food chain rumour factory is anything go by, its future progress could be be slowed by a bout of that traditional grocery ailment ­ politics. To most industry observers, of course, the tractor's route ­ once it had crossed Shap Fell ­ was always going to be rough. A dismissive reaction from the Scots who have done so much to promote their own successful quality assurance brand should have been expected. But now, as the NFU prepares to relaunch the tractor scheme after a review had shown that consumers did not understand it, certain factions across the entire UK industry are casting doubts on its validity. It is widely known that the NFU wants the revamped project to place more emphasis on environmental standards and inspection criteria after consumer feedback highlighted both as prime concerns. And our information suggests that Assured Food Standards, which administers the scheme, has been looking at the whole question of farm assurance ideas in the light of the Curry Report. So far so good. Trouble is, parochially minded groups and individuals within both the trade and consumer organisations are said to have doubts. And there are growing fears that this will stall progress on the tractor's new format ­ possibly, as a worse case scenario, even running the scheme towards the scrapyard. That would be a pity. Sure, the tractor needs a service now that it has completed its running-in period. And while, perhaps, it's easier said than done, it would be good to see the whole chain pulling together on this one.The Curry report said the tractor should receive funding from government and industry bodies. And that makes sense. {{OPINION }}