Tractor in the outer Isles

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SCF welcomes pledge of action plan for Commission governance

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

SCF has welcomed the pledge by Scottish Government to put in place an action plan to address the failures highlighted by the governance review of the Crofting Commission.

“The governance review of the Crofting Commission, instigated by Scottish Government at our request, has exposed many weaknesses in basic operating procedures and in how the organisation copes with extraordinary individual behaviours”, said Russell Smith, Chair of the SCF. “The review has made it clear that a robust Commissioner appraisal process is required, to help identify and deliver ongoing training and skills development. We are particularly keen to see a rationalisation of the roles of Commissioners, establishing when they should be delegating to the executive staff or referring to other bodies that have the required expertise. Commissioners should have a strategic and advisory capacity only. It is clear that they got too involved with executive procedures that they did not have the competence or remit for. Read more here ....

Crofters gather to discuss implications of Brexit

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) will hold its 2017 Annual Gathering, with the theme ‘Crofting’s Place in Europe’, on 10th and 11th March in Applecross, Wester Ross. The event aims to set a crofting agenda for the upcoming Brexit negotiations and a post-Brexit agricultural policy that is fit for crofting.

“The importance of the topic is reflected in the attendance of two members of the Scottish Government Cabinet,” said Russell Smith, chair of the SCF. “On Friday the Cabinet Secretary responsible for crofting, Mr Fergus Ewing MSP, will officially open the gathering with an address placing crofting in the context of Scotland’s rural development. On Saturday Dr Michael Russell MSP, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, will open the day and the session on generating priorities for the Brexit agenda. Read more here….

SCF Annual Gathering 2017

Monday, February 06, 2017

SCF will hold its 2017 Annual Gathering, with the theme Crofting’s Place in Europe, on 10th and 11th March, noon to noon, in Applecross, Wester Ross.

The event aims to set a crofting agenda for the upcoming Brexit negotiations and a post-Brexit agricultural policy that is fit for crofting. Read more here…..

Crofting Federation cheered by number of candidates for commission elections

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) welcomed the high number of nominations for the Crofting Commission elections citing it as a very positive sign for crofting.

“The number of people willing to stand as candidates for the forthcoming Crofting Commission elections is very heartening,” said Russell Smith, Chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation. It shows that crofters care about the survival of crofting and the Crofting Commission. There is a resilience within the crofting community and the will to move on. Read more…

Young crofters struggle to get started due to land prices and lack of finance

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

The Scottish Crofting Federation Young Crofters say that the lack of access to land and finance affect them too, in the wake of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) report ‘Future for Young Farmers’.

“Lack of access to land and finance are seriously handicapping the future of crofting”, Donald MacKinnon, a young crofter and director of the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF), said. “It is very good that RBS have carried out such a large survey and produced a report highlighting how difficult it is for young farmers to get hold of land or finance. It is the same in crofting with young folk who wish to croft being kept out by existing unworked crofts being sat on, potential land for new crofts not being identified and borrowing money on croft land being almost impossible.”

The report from the Royal Bank of Scotland - Harvesting the Future for Young Farmers identified three key challenges: Read more ...

Support to crofting agriculture

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My writing in 2016 was taken up, to a larger extent than would have been hoped for, with the issues at the Crofting Commission. Whilst this was justified by it being a matter of great concern to crofters, there are other important things going on that need crofters’ attention. Read more here….

Does the croft house grant scheme work?

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

There has been a commotion in the media lately concerning the Croft House Grant Scheme. It is quite understandable that people are getting very concerned when they see applications from young folk being turned down. But there is also misinformation being bandied about and it is important that we have clear facts. Read more here….

SCF calls on women and youth to stand for election

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) is appealing to crofters, especially women and young crofters, to stand as candidates for the Crofting Commissioner elections.

“It is imperative that we get a decent number of experienced crofters to stand for the election of Crofting Commissioners”, said Russell Smith, Chair of the SCF. “So we are encouraging people to stand. We want a range of candidates for crofters to choose from, including women and young people, with contested elections in all constituencies so that the best people get in. We are convinced that the only way to get the Commission back to good health is to get the right people on to the Commission board. Read more….

SCF New Year’s Resolutions 2017

Friday, January 13, 2017

There are two ‘legs’ to SCF’s work: representation and development.

Representation

The Scottish Crofting Federation is the only organisation dedicated to the representation of crofters and crofting. We have no other interest groups other than crofters and so lead on representing the crofting view in policy formation.

In 2017 we will continue to hold the Scottish Government to the SNP manifesto pledges which respond to the ‘Five Actions for Crofting’ issued by the Federation in the run-up to the Scottish elections. Read more…

Happy New Year to all our members: ​We hope to see many young folk and women standing for election as Commissioner. Don’t forget the closing date for nominations - Thursday 26th January

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

​Read more…

Crofting: a year past, the future to fight for

Thursday, December 22, 2016

At this time of year we look back over the past twelve months at what has happened and been achieved, and look forward to what we resolve for the year ahead. Last week the Scottish Crofting Federation said thanks to the out-going chair, Fiona Mandeville, as she stepped down on completion of her two year tenure. Fiona handed the role to Russell Smith who will be planning his two years ahead.

The Federation has achieved a great deal in the past two years, not least the pledges made by the SNP in their manifesto and recently confirmed by the Cabinet Secretary for crofting, Fergus Ewing MSP at the Cross Party Group on Crofting. The pledges mirror the ‘Five Actions for Crofting’ published by the SCF just before the Scottish election last May and the 5 priorities identified by the Scottish Government’s crofting stakeholder forum.

Read more…

SCF’s new chair urges crofters to “stand together under one banner”.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The newly appointed chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) outlined his plans for the work the SCF has to do in support of crofting over the coming two years.

At their board and council meeting last Friday, the SCF said thanks to the out-going chair, Fiona Mandeville, who stepped down on completion of her two year tenure. Fiona handed the role to Russell Smith, a crofter from Bonar Bridge in Sutherland.

Read more…

Operation Brexit

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Everything we do, everything we plan, all conversation about development, is now done relative to what the situation will be if and when we leave the European Union. We live in the shadow of Brexit. It is the great unknown, an amputation where the UK is the limb being cut off with the dream of thriving as an independent body. We don’t know how well the operation will go and what we will be post-op. We will survive, the consultants say, but will we thrive?

Read more ...

Crofting Federation welcomes review of Commission

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has welcomed the review of the Crofting Commission recently initiated by Scottish Government, stating that the governance of crofting is at stake.

“We asked for a review of the way in which the Crofting Commission has handled itself over the past six months”, said Fiona Mandeville, chair of the SCF. “Three grazings committees have been removed and ordinary folk, trying to do a difficult job in maintaining this crofting asset, have had their reputations dragged through the mud. This cannot be the correct way for a regulator to behave. We appreciate that the board of the Commission has recognised its mistakes and has issued an apology to the crofters, albeit without the acquiescence of the convener, Colin Kennedy. It is time to move on and we hope a review of procedures will enable a better way of working.” Read more ...

SCF Calls On Scottish Government To Oust Convener

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has called on the Cabinet Secretary for crofting, Fergus Ewing, to halt the waste of public money and to oust the Crofting Commission Convener, Colin Kennedy, following his stated intention to stay.

“This dreadful humiliation of crofting regulation and complete waste of public money has got to stop”, said Fiona Mandeville, Chair of the SCF. “In his latest statements to the media, Mr Kennedy has said that he intends to stay in place as Convener of the Crofting Commission. He still refutes any wrong doing and claims to have operated within the law, despite the fact that lawyers and the Cabinet Secretary for crofting, who is himself from a legal background, have said he is wrong. That is some arrogance.

Read more…