Tractor in the outer Isles

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Assynt Crofters Trust 25th Anniversary Celebrations - watch the Allan MacRae Memorial Debate

Thursday, July 12, 2018

SCF was delighted to be able to host the Allan MacRae Memorial debate as part of the ACT’s 25th Anniversary celebrations. The motion: “This house believes Land Reform measures in Scotland to date have done little to further their primary objective of greater social justice”.
The motion was supported by Peter Peacock, former policy director of Community Land Scotland, and was opposed by Iain MacKinnon, Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience [CAWR].​ You can view the debate here

SCF comments on emerging strategy for agriculture support

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has provisionally commented on the consultation document “Stability and Simplicity” released by Scottish Government last week.

“This document lays out the broader issues facing agricultural support,” said Russell Smith, Chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF), “and possible routes forward. It is good to see an emerging strategy but it is of course only in its infancy – the consultation document makes this clear. Clear principles such as maintaining environmental standards are welcomed, as are the suggested possibilities of innovation, such as simplifying the application process for those whose circumstances stay largely unchanged year on year.

Read more

Crofting Federation bids farewell to stalwart office-bearer

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The recent Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) AGM saw a change of Company Secretary after a decade of dedicated service from John Bannister MBE.

“John has been doing a sterling job as our company secretary” said Russell Smith, Chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF), “and it is very sad for us, but understandable, that he wishes to retire from official duties and concentrate on his croft business. It is a very responsible governance role and takes a great deal of attention to detail. He was also secretary of the Skye and Lochalsh branch of SCF, and a great passion of John’s was practical, accessible training in crofting skills. He set up the SCF training programme 20 years ago and was closely involved in the programme and the training panel until recently. Read more…...

Life Membership

What keeps crofters awake at night… Crofting Federation finds out

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Scottish Crofting Federation recently surveyed its members and found no big surprises in their responses: number one worry is that they need to earn a living.

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) asked its members what their greatest concern for the future of crofting is. The biggest single worry was economic viability; around 37% quoted this or Brexit or future support arrangements. Russell smith, Chair of SCF, commented, “This is not a surprise as no-one is going to keep crofting if they can’t earn a living from it. There are two issues here: Brexit could lead to reduced exports and increased imports with lower standards for beef and lamb, and also leaving the Common Agricultural Policy will mean new support systems for agriculture, probably with a reduced overall total. Read more…

Chair, Russell Smith, on Post-Brexit Agriculture

Saturday, June 16, 2018

I’m going to talk in this column about Brexit – no, please don’t stop reading straight away. This is rightly a major concern to crofters and hill farmers in Sutherland as it could affect the very existence of agriculture in the Highlands & Islands. Two recent authoritative reports highlight this (both worth reading when we do get a rainy day). Read more here…..

SCF encouraged by direction of travel in agricultural policy strategy report

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has welcomed the direction of travel recommended by the Scottish Government ‘Agricultural Champions’ in their report “A Future Strategy for Scottish Agriculture” citing it as “croft-proofed”.

“We were concerned about the lack of coverage of crofting in the interim report but the Champions have taken on board our response. The report has been ‘croft-proofed’ and there is much that we can heartily endorse,” said the chair of SCF, Russell Smith. “For example, when discussing Natural Capital the Champions acknowledge that Scotland has huge areas of less favoured permanent grassland and rough grazing, where high nature value farming is both traditional and common. They recommend that, ‘Future policies must address the specific needs of this type of farming, including the fact that low profitability threatens its very survival.’ This is indeed the case for our members and ties in with the recent study carried out for the Highlands and Islands Agricultural Support Group.” Read more…....

Crofting Federation welcomes government funding for rural mental health

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Scottish Crofting Federation has welcomed the announcement that Scottish Government will continue to support the National Rural Mental Health Forum with a grant of £50,000.

“Mental health is something we don’t talk enough about,” said Patrick Krause, chief executive of the Scottish Crofting Federation, “and perhaps especially so in rural communities. Yet our mental health is of course just as significant to our well-being as our physical health. The National Rural Mental Health Forum (NRMHF) has been raising awareness of mental health issues with great success and it is good that this work is recognised and supported by the Scottish Government.” Read more…..

#CroftSpirit18 – Celebrating the Spirit of Crofting Awards

Friday, May 18, 2018

The first of their kind, these awards will be given to two individuals following a call for nominations by the Scottish Crofting Federation. The drive for the award is the Year of Young People 2018 and as such will celebrate the role of young people in crofting. The awards will be made at a special dinner which will be held during the Celebrating the Spirit of Crofting event on 5th October 2018 at Rothes, Moray and presented by Mel Irivine of Drummuir, one of the stars of BBC TV “This Farming Life”.

The weekend event which will include workshops, inspirational speakers and networking for crofters and small scale food producers: focusing on a range of diverse crofting produce. The Scottish Crofting Federation are grateful to all funders of the event and in particular to Moray LEADER and Big Lottery Awards for All. Read more…....

Crofting Federation welcomes report demonstrating Highlands & Islands agriculture is unique

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) welcomed a report launched yesterday that “demonstrates unequivocally that Highlands and Islands agriculture and land use stands out as unique in Scotland and the UK”.

At the gathering for the launch of the report ‘Post-Brexit Implications for Agriculture & Associated Land Use in the Highlands and Islands’, chair of SCF Russell Smith said, “We welcome this very important piece of work that demonstrates unequivocally that Highlands and Islands agriculture and land use stands out as unique in Scotland and the UK. The contribution that this region, and therefore crofting, makes to food production and public goods such as environment, landscape and culture is shown to be very significant, but
along with that the report emphasises the vulnerability and constraints this fragile area suffers.” Read more…....

Crofting Federation supports Scottish Government approach to law reform

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

The Scottish Crofting Federation has supported the two-phase approach to crofting law reform, as outlined by the Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing in giving evidence to the Rural Economy Committee.

“No one would deny that crofting law is complex,” said Russell Smith, Chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF). “It is in need of reform and this is, thankfully, underway. SCF is firm in its belief that reform needs to be done in a measured, methodical way, especially because of its complexity. Rushing forward into a wholesale writing of new law would create the likelihood of crofting law not getting changed in this parliamentary life, or indeed for a very long time bearing in mind how long it has taken to get to this point.” Read more….

Crofting celebration is awarded funding by Moray LEADER

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Crofting celebration is awarded funding by Moray LEADER - A two day event that celebrates the spirit of crofting will be supported by funding from the Moray LEADER Programme. The event also marks the fact that Moray is now one of the crofting counties. The Scottish Crofting federation (SCF) have been successful in their bid for funding of £14,179.15 towards the costs of organising and running the event, which will take place in Rothes in October. The award will cover 80% of the eligible project costs.

Moray LEADER Programme Manager Norman MacAskill said: “While crofting is not usually associated with Moray, Local Action Group members were impressed by the energy and ambition of the proposal from SCF, and believe it will be a worthwhile investment in a vital part of the Moray economy. In particular, it will contribute to Moray LEADER’s objective of building stronger local supply chains for Moray food and drink.”

Read more….

Moray Leader Funding

Crofting Federation reminds crofters to submit their Single Application Form

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) reminds crofters to submit their Single Application Form by 15th May if they wish to claim payments under most agricultural support schemes. “There is a drive to get crofters and farmers to submit their Single Application Form (SAF) on-line,” said Russell Smith, Chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF). “If you can’t face filling it in on-line you can still do it on a paper form, but it has to be a paper form issued by your local RPID office. It cannot be a form you have downloaded and printed. Staff in the department office are very helpful in advising on how to fill it in if this is new to you.” Read more…....

SCF MEMBERSHIP SURVEY 2018: RESPOND TODAY

Tuesday, May 01, 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.

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…....

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…....