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SCF welcomes assurances from Mundell for post-Brexit agriculture

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has welcomed the assurances given by Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, on the outlook for Scottish agriculture post-Brexit.

“The meeting with Mr Mundell last week to discuss the shape of Scottish agriculture was certainly upbeat,” said Russell Smith, chair of the SCF. It is good to hear optimism in the context of Brexit, though whether founded on fact or aspiration is not clear. Mr Mundell assured us that trade deals will be done and that agriculture will not be sold out as part of these deals. Read more…....

SCF MEMBERSHIP SURVEY 2018: RESPOND TODAY

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Members will be receiving a questionnaire with the latest edition of The Crofter. This is your opportunity to let us have your views on SCF and what we can do for you.

Please return completed questionnaires in the Freepost envelope provided or go online to complete.

Crofting Federation adds crofting to NFUS policy

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has found the paper ‘Steps to Change’ recently published by NFU Scotland to be lacking in understanding of the culture of crofting and crofting communities and has suggestions for future editions.

“The paper that the farmers’ union has put out on their vision for agricultural support post-Brexit is clearly a considerable piece of work,” said SCF Chair, Russell Smith. “It must be very challenging trying to write policy that will satisfy all their members, but they have made a good start on it. There are some aspirations that we would support, such as food production thriving whilst providing positive environmental outcomes, and public goods, things that benefit the public that are not paid for by the market, being supported with public money.

“Unfortunately, the paper comes across as a treatise on the industrial agriculture model, showing a fundamental lack of understanding of crofting and its wider benefits to crofting communities. In fact, whether talking about crofting or agriculture in other parts of Scotland, there is no mention of community whatsoever. Read more…....

SCF welcomes government plans on taking crofting law reform forward

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Scottish Crofting Federation gave a positive response to the plans put forward by Scottish Government on taking crofting law reform forward in this session of parliament.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing, put forward his plans for proceeding with the reform of crofting law, at a specially convened meeting of the Cross Party Group on Crofting, last night. In attendance were representatives of the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) including chair, Russell Smith.

“We are pleased that the Cabinet Secretary has announced a positive way forward for crofting law and restated his commitment to non-legislative changes also”, said Mr Smith. “He promised that we will have a bill in this parliamentary session which corrects the major anomalies in the current law and so enables it to work appropriately for crofters. This is the essential course of action needed and will pave the way to a consolidation bill in the next session. It is exactly what SCF hoped for. Read more..

Crofting Federation welcomes Commission initiatives

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has congratulated the Crofting Commission on the recently announced initiatives of a new Assessors Panel and research into crofting support.

“The Crofting Commission’s role in matters relating to crofting will be greatly enhanced by the appointment of a new Assessors Panel,” said Russell Smith, chair of the SCF. “The SCF has always been a great supporter of having assessors and fought hard to keep them when the demise of the network was being proposed by Scottish Government a decade or so ago. The solution instigated by the Commission of having fewer assessors but giving them a clearer mandate, a closer relationship with the commissioners and support to do their job, is to be commended.

“I would also like to thank the assessors for having put themselves forward for this voluntary role. It is really appreciated that people are willing to give their time and experience to helping crofting to work well as a regulated form of land tenure.” Read more .......

Women-only training has its place says SCF

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) is clear that women-only agricultural training is necessary and responds to specific requests from women seeking to develop their agricultural experience; the evidence is there to support this.

“There clearly is the need and demand for women-only training courses in skills for farming and crofting”, Patrick Krause, Chief Executive of the SCF, said. “The ground-breaking research commissioned by Scottish Government, ‘Women in Farming and the Agriculture Sector’, presents unequivocal evidence that this is so.

Read more .....

Women in Agriculture - Inverness meeting

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Women in Agriculture - Inverness meeting

Women in Agriculture - Knowledge transfer

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Women in Agriculture - Knowledge transfer

SCF Urges Crofters To Take Care In Burning

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) urges crofters who practice Muirburn to do so with extra care as several fires have gone out of control in difficult conditions recently.

“Burning off the heather in a carefully controlled manner is an essential part of managing hill grazing,” Yvonne White, vice-chair of the SCF said. “Burning heather allows it to regenerate providing food and access. If the hill was not burnt then the heather would be waist high and woody, and the habitat would be poorer for all: livestock, wild animals and humans.

“There have been several cases of fires getting out of control lately. In some areas conditions have been difficult with very dry ground and erratic winds. Errors happen, you can misjudge the wind and the situation can change very quickly. I suggest that Common Grazings committees should review their Muirburn plan to make sure it is up-to-date as a new code has been issued.”

Read more…

SCF calls for moratorium on sporting rates demands

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) calls on local authorities to halt inappropriate demands for payment of rates from crofters on sporting rights which they do not have and to declare a moratorium until this has been sorted out.

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SCF Welcomes Government Loan

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has welcomed the advance loan for less favoured areas provided by Scottish Government and urges crofters to take advantage of it.

“Crofters rely on the Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme,” said Chair of the SCF, Russell Smith, “in fact the scheme was designed specifically to help marginalised areas of Europe that typically are inhabited by crofters or hill farmers. It is therefore helpful that the Scottish Government have again provided a loan scheme to ensure that payments are made quickly and the benefits of money circulating in the local economy are felt as soon as possible.”

Delays have been experienced in getting the Less Favoured Areas payments out in previous years, which has caused hardship to some crofters. Owing to specific EU rules around governments making advance payments on EU schemes, Scottish Government are making the offer of loans from domestic funding, which is not controlled by EU rules, in order to ensure that money is available.

Read more…

Russell Smith, SCF Chair meets MPs Ian Blackford and Jamie Stone

Monday, February 05, 2018

Russell Smith and Ian Blackford

With Brexit again dominating the headlines Russell Smith, Chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation, has met with Highland MPs Ian Blackford and Jamie Stone to put forward the SCF’s views on the way forward. The MPs have both agreed to pass on the SCF post-Brexit ideas to Michael Gove Secretary of State for the Environment.

SCF calls on Scottish Government to support creation of small local abattoirs

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) calls on the Scottish Government to give tangible support to the creation of small local abattoirs that can underpin the meat niche market Scotland seeks.

“The abattoir situation is very vexing,” said SCF Chair, Russell Smith. “We all agree that the niche, high provenance meat market is the way forward for Scotland, whatever happens regarding Europe. Yet high quality meat producers’ efforts are stymied by having such a scarcity of abattoirs and thus poor traceability. Animal welfare is compromised by vast transport distances and there is the added cost of travelling to and from the abattoir which can make direct selling unprofitable for small producers. Inexplicably, this cannot be compensated for in Less Favoured Area support. Look at a map showing red meat slaughtering facilities in the UK; it is not great elsewhere but Scotland is shamefully neglected, it is an abattoir desert.

Read more…

Job Opportunity Training Administrator Ullapool

Monday, January 15, 2018

Due to a long term staff absence this role with the Scottish Crofting Federation has become available. Working as part of a small office based team in Ullapool this role would suit anyone who has experience of working with spreadsheets, bookings systems and customer facing roles. The training project is a funded training programme that provides training courses across the Highlands and Islands for up to 500 participants per annum in a variety of skills from new entrant crofting training to practical skills courses.

Training Administrator: Crofters and Smallholders Skills Project

Job Title: Training Administrator

Hours of Work: 35 Hours (1 FTE)

Salary: Starting at £18,180 raising to £18,361 from 1st July 2018

Timescale: Contract: 1st March 2018 – 30th June 2019

Primary Purpose: To provide administrative and organisational support to the Training and Development Managers – Crofters and Smallholders Skills Boost Training Project

Further Info: Full job description and person specification can be provided upon request by email, informal telephone enquiries may be made on 01854 612220.

Closing Date: Applications (CV and covering letter) must be received by email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) no later than 11.59PM on Friday 2nd February 2018

Interview Date: Interviews will be held week beginning 12th February 2018

SCF broadly welcomes Michael Gove’s views on future agricultural policy

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has largely welcomed the Secretary of State for Environment, Michael Gove’s views on agriculture set out in his paper ‘Farming for the next generation’.

“The Secretary of State’s vision for a fairer agricultural system that, supported with public money, delivers more public benefit is to be welcomed”, said Russell Smith, Chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation. “His paper, spoken to last week at the Oxford Farming Conference and at the larger Oxford Real Farming Conference, has brought a great deal of comment,” Mr Smith went on. “This is not surprising given that it marks the potential end of a very unfair regime that, as Mr Gove says, ‘gives the most from the public purse to those who have the most private wealth’. We may at last see a real shift from the ‘perverse outcomes’ to ‘the presumption that we should only support clear public goods the market will not, left to itself, provide’.”

Read more here ...