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SCF Annual Gathering 2017 - Crofting’s place in Europe

Mr. Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity opened the event as keynote speaker and took multiple questions from the floor. He reiterated his personal and the Scottish government’s continued support for crofting.

Friday 10 March Session 1:


Jan Douwe van der Ploeg, from Fryslân, professor emeritus Wageningen Agricultural University and adjunct professor of rural sociology at the China Agricultural University in Beijing, opened the session. Using data from 26 years of research into farming styles, he made the case for small-scale agriculture, to be seen not as failed large farming but as a productive class in its own (often farming ‘economically’) and - contrary to expectations - not disappearing.

To download a copy of Jan Douwe van der Ploeg’s PowerPoint presentation as a Pdf (4 mbs) ... Please click here

Gwyn Jones from Wales and director of the European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism. He worked for 20 years in the Highlands and Islands, mostly as a SAC advisor. He has carried out research on common grazings and on wider CAP support for crofting and presented data on Pillar two of the CAP, showing a mismatch between policy and implementation.

To download a copy of Gwyn Jone’s PowerPoint presentation as a Pdf (4 mbs) ... Please click here

Steven G Thomson, Senior Agricultural Economist with 24 years of experience in agricultural and rural policy analysis, presented a comprehensive set of data on the First Pillar of CAP under the title “Crofting in Numbers”.

To download a copy of Steven Thomson’s PowerPoint presentation as a Pdf (5 mbs) ... Please click here

Samuel Féret is the executive coordinator of ARC2020 (Agricultural and Rural Convention) since April 2013, a French NGO focused on analysing and promoting better food and farming policies in the EU. Together with Slow Food Youth Network leaders, he is the co-editor of a book “CAP What’s Cooking, Recipes to better understand the CAP”.

To download a copy of Samuel Féret’s PowerPoint presentation as a Pdf (1 mbs) ... Please click here

Hanny van Geel spoke on behalf of the European Coordination Via Campesina, the European part of the global movement of La Via Campesina, of which SCF is a member. She is initiator of a young female farmers group and trainer of young (female) farmers and former chair of Nederlandse Akkerbouw Vakbond (Dutch Arable Farmers Association).

To download a copy of Hanny van Geel’s PowerPoint presentation as a Pdf (4 mbs) ... Please click here

The last speaker, Robin Calvert, runs the 44 hectare croft Reidchalmai at Rogart with his wife Penny. “We have a fold of Highland cattle and buy-in lambs to sell on as gimmers, also free-range pigs and poultry, hay and some roots. Essence of the croft is to make it as self-supporting as possible whilst maintaining high standards of animal welfare” Most home-bred animals are used as the basis for his birth-to-plate business the ‘Well Hung Lamb Co.’ which has been running since 2001 through the on- the- croft butchering unit. He made a plea for crofters to beat the drum louder for crofting meat.

Saturday 11 March Session

Dr Michael Russell, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe. The opening speech - Scotland’s Position in Brexit - is available to view here.

A summary of the presentation by Bill Barron, Chief Executive, Crofting Commission is available in the latest edition of the Crofter (111).


First Call for SCF Annual Gathering 2017

SCF will hold it’s 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.

Location: Hartfield House, Applecross.

Time: from lunch to lunchtime, Friday 10 - Saturday 11 March. The programme will start at 2pm sharp but gathering will be from noon on.

Registration: there will be no registration fee; however, places will be limited so you do have to register with .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). More details can be found here….


Crofting Community & The Environment

An event delivered by the Land Manager’s Advisory Group (a subsidiary of the Sleat General Grazings Committee) intended to bring a greater awareness of what Crofters do, what their regulatory responsibilities are, what management schemes they are involved in and what they do for the countryside in general will take place at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Wednesday, 21st September 2016 at 7pm.

William Swan will be introducing the law and structure under which Crofters operate, with Ian Lindsay providing information on land use and the environment. Alastair Culbertson will
talk about schemes such as the Sea Eagle Scheme and these presentations will be followed by a Q & A session.

The event isn’t specifically for Crofters (though some will attend) but is intended to inform the wider community who know little or nothing about how Crofters handle their responsibilities. It is aimed at imparting some background knowledge which will help explain to the uninitiated why Crofters do what they do, so please do come along.


​Crofters’ and Smallholders’ Discussion Meeting

Crofters’ and Smallholders’ Discussion Meeting

The meeting will take place at the Pittentrail Hall, Rogart , IV28 3XJ at 6.30 pm on Monday 20th June 2016.

All welcome

Madeleine Henry and Katie Adam (researchers from SRUC Inverness) together with Caroline Robinson (Veterinary Investigation officer from SAC Consulting, Perth) invite you to a evening meeting to discuss attitudes to animal health, welfare and biosecurity among crofters, smallholders and smaller-scale livestock keepers.


SOIL: Knowing what you’ve got & making it work for you

Thursday 2nd June, 10.30 – 3.30 Chalmersquoy, Westray, Orkney

Practical hands-on day with James Bretherton, Agscope, organised by the Soil Association Scotland. The event includes BYO soil & soil analysis session and looking at the most vital asset on your farm: SOIL. Discussing soil analysis, hysical soil assessment, taking appropriate remedial action & answering your soil related questions.

Free of charge to farmers and land managers & £40.00 plus VAT to others. Booking is required, so lunch & packs can be provided. For further information please call Lyn 07899791748 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Funded by The Scottish Government & The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development with partner funding from QMS, Forestry Commission Scotland & Duchy Future Farming.


Soil Muck and Money

Wednesday 1st June, Beaquoy Farm, Dounby, Orkney

The event is kindly supported by William Shearer and is a practical event looking at soil, grassland management, making best use of FYM and slurry for optimum production. Organised and hosted by the Soil Association Scotland, speakers include James Bretherton, AgScope and Iain Eadie, Germinal UK Ltd. Free of charge to farmers and land managers and £40.00 plus VAT to others.

The event will be run in the morning (10am–1pm) and repeated in the afternoon (2pm–5pm). Booking is required, so lunch & packs can be provided. For further information please call Lyn on 07899 791748 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Funded by The Scottish Government & The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development with partner funding from QMS, Forestry Commission Scotland & Duchy Future Farming.


Horticulture: a one-day course for crofters and small producers

Wednesday 11th May, Glendale, Isle of Skye, 9.30am-4pm

A practical one-day event looking at soils, fertilisers and rotations for horticultural crops, organised by the Soil Association. The day will include outdoor practical sessions including soil physical assessment, crop rotations for polytunnels, and placement of windbreaks and shelters.

Speakers include Audrey Litterick (Audrey Litterick Consulting) and Donald Murdie (Gatrigill), authors of Horticulture: A Handbook for Crofters.

The event is free to land managers; £40 + VAT to others.

Booking is required for catering purposes. Contact David on 0131 666 2474 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more info.


Grassland: Managing Soils & Weeds; a one-day course for crofters

Tuesday 10th May, Portree, Isle of Skye, 10.30am-3pm

The Soil Association is organising this course to look at practical soil management and sustainable weed control. The day will include a visit to a croft followed by a BYO soils workshop and Q&A session. Speakers include independent consultant, Ian Cairns.

The event is free to land managers; £40 + VAT to others.

Booking is required for catering purposes. Contact David on 0131 666 2474 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more info.


National Rural Hustings

Ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections in May this year, NFU Scotland and Scottish Land & Estates are delighted to host a cross-party hustings event to focus on the issues critical to rural Scotland.

The hustings will be held on Thursday 7th April, 7pm-9pm at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, and will feature a panel of representatives from the Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Labour, Scottish Liberal Democrats, the Scottish Green Party and the SNP. It will provide a fantastic opportunity for us to debate the key rural issues and ask candidates from each party to set out their vision for rural Scotland, with a range of organisations and guests from across the rural sector in attendance.

The hustings will be moderated by Ken Rundle, SRUC, and will feature:

Richard Lochhead, SNP

Willie Rennie, Scottish Liberal Democrats

Sarah Boyack, Scottish Labour

Peter Chapman, Scottish Conservatives

Mark Ruskell, Scottish Green Party

The event has been organised and supported by a range of rural industry groups, including the Scottish Crofting Federation.

Read more…


Local Meetings

SCF is coming to Barra and Benbecula! On Wednesday 24th February and Thursday 25th February 2016, SCF will be hosting local meetings in Barra and Benbecula.

The meetings will have speakers on national issues, a Q&A session and discussion of local issues.As well as SCF's Patrick Krause the speakers include; Registers of Scotland's Rhona Elrick and Kay Dallas, Scottish Government's Lucy Carmichael and Crofting Commission's I G MacDonald.

For more information, please contact Maria Scholten at SCF 01599 530 003.


Future of Crofting - Video report from the Conference

Professor Mark Shucksmith reflects on the Committee of Inquiry into Crofting - from the Future of Crofting conference, Inverness, December 2015. View the video here.

A short report about the conference can be seen here.

Scottish Rural Networks videos including a speech by Dr Aileen McLeod can be seen here.


SCF in Barra and Benbecula

There will be an SCF local group meeting in Barra as well as one in Benbecula over the next few months.

Registers of Scotland will attend to discuss community mapping and Scottish Government hope to send a representative to discuss crofting policy issues.

Details will be advertised at a later date.


Open Prestentation on the Skye and Lochalsh Micro Abattoir Project

The skye and Lochalsh Meat Supply Group is to hold an open presentation on Tues 2nd June 2015 at 7 pm at Tigh na Sgire, Council Offices, Portree.

Producers, businesses and consumers who are interested in the sustainable development of the local meat supply chain and infrastructure are invited to attend.

The presentation will include information on the design, siting, business operational structure and funding options for taking the project to the build phase in 2016.


Calling Young and aspiring crofters

SCF Gathering 2015: A Gathering of Young Crofters

Please read the opening "springboard presentation" by Iain MacKinnon from Skye.

Glencanisp LodgeAs the "Gathering of Young Crofters" was postponed due to a series of setbacks, including floods in Ullapool, we are happy to announce that it will take place in March 2015. It will be held in Glencanisp Lodge on the community-owned Glencanisp Estate in Assynt, from lunchtime Thursday 19th March to lunchtime Saturday 21st March. The event will be hosted by the SCF and Crofting Connections.

This will be the first gathering of young crofters and aspiring young crofters, with the purpose of addressing the question: “What do we want crofting to look like in 2020 and beyond?

Priority is given to young crofters and aspiring crofters and places will be subsidised, though a small charge will be made. There will also be older crofters attending to bring their experience and wisdom to the deliberations. Officials will be invited to participate as this is an opportunity for young crofters to be able to have discussions with those who formulate policies that affect crofting.

It will not just be a ‘talking-shop’ however; it is expected that all will participate in forming actions to be taken forward from the gathering.

If you are interested in participating in this unique event please send a note of interest to Maria at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). There will be a limit to the number of places we can have so please let us know if you wish to be considered as soon as possible.

Also we need young crofters and aspiring crofters to let us know if you have ideas for what should inform the planning of the event. Subthemes will likely include access to land, affordable homes and creation of employment, and you may have other topics that should be included. We have developed a short online survey; if you are willing to participate please follow this link.

This is the first time young folk that are, or want to be, crofting will gather and form your vision of the future of crofting and plan out the steps you need to take to make that vision reality. Come to Assynt and help to create the future you want to see.

To see a short film "Crofting's New Voices" - Please follow this link .

YC 20:20 Poster


Young Crofters - Wide Horizons Training Event

Wide Horizons: for individuals interested in the local food and drink sector.


• Learn how to start a business and how to put together a business plan

• Develop your understanding of local food & drink production and how it might apply to your community

• Grow in confidence whilst contributing to a team and doing things you never thought possible

• Receive support and insight from an established social enterprise in the community

• You can get a qualification with the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM)


This programme is for young people aged 16 - 24,interested in localising food or drink production, processing or retail. This interest may be inspired by you already working in the sector, your interest in the local food agenda or your studies at school or college.

For more information please see: Find out more…