Tractor in the outer Isles

News

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 ...

Scottish Crofting Federation welcomes increase in provision for Crofting Commission

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

SCF has welcomed the Scottish Government draft budget in which the Crofting Commission is due to see an increase in its available resource for 2018/19.

“Crofting very clearly provides for rural Scotland,” said Russell Smith, chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF), “and it is heartening to see that Scottish Government recognise this and the importance of resourcing the Crofting Commission to do its job in administering crofting. Read more here

Crofters call on Scottish Government to reveal its plans for goose management in Uists

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) Board and Council endorsed support for Uist crofters in their campaign for Scottish Government to fund reduction of wild geese which are devastating the grazings and the environmentally sensitive machair.

“At a recent meeting of the SCF’s Board of Directors and our advisory Council of Representatives, it was unanimously agreed that SCF is 100% behind the Uist crofters in their struggle to get meaningful support from the Scottish Government to reduce the wild geese that plague them,” said SCF chair Russell Smith. “We had assurances from Scottish Government that an action plan would be published before now, so we really need to see this happen. Read the full news release here….

SCF Photo Competition Winners

Friday, December 08, 2017

SCF Photo Competition - Well done to everyone who took part, the winners have been selected and the winning images are now on beautiful, high quality crofting cards for sale in the croft shop on the Scottish Crofting Enterprise website and in the Ullapool and Kyle SCF offices. A big thank you and well done to everyone who took part.

NEWS RELEASE: Crofters accuse Scottish Government of environmental neglect

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

45 angry crofters at a Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) Uist meeting have accused the Scottish Government of ignoring the threat by swarming geese to crofters and the acclaimed machair habitat.

“This is not a sudden or new occurrence”, said Sam MacDonald, Chair of the North Uist branch of SCF, “crofters warning of the escalating geese numbers and the effect it has on crofting, and therefore on the machair habitat. SCF has been fighting for movement on this for years and have raised a petition in the Scottish Parliament. But Scottish Government have responded by systematically reducing any help. Well, it has got to the point now that if something isn’t done as a matter of urgency crofting will cease and the machair will suffer irreparable damage. What else can you call that but neglect? Read more here….

News Release: Crofting Federation offers proposals for taking crofting forward

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has responded to the Scottish Government ‘Crofting Consultation 2017’ with a clear set of proposals to form new fit-for-purpose legislation before 2021, the end of this government term.

“There are a range of possibilities being talked about”, said Russell Smith, the chair of the SCF, “ranging from doing nothing to starting all over again with completely new law. Having consulted with our members over a long period of time it is clear that crofters do not want to lose any of their existing protection and rights and therefore want existing law, law that has evolved over many years, to be made fit for purpose. There is the perpetual hope that crofting legislation will interfere with crofting less and help it more…...... Read more here

SCF Response to Crofting Consultation 2017 - A consultation on the future of crofting law

Monday, November 20, 2017

SCF Response to Crofting Consultation 2017 - A consultation on the future of crofting law

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Crofting Consultation 2017. The Scottish Crofting Federation is the only organisation solely dedicated to campaigning for crofters and fighting for the future of crofting. Its mission is to safeguard and promote the rights, livelihoods and culture of crofters and their communities.

Working through its membership structure it can respond authoritatively to agencies and government officials at local, national and international levels on the many issues affecting crofting and crofting communities.

Introduction
The response we have had from our members and advisors to this consultation has been that they are, overall, disenchanted. The tone of the material is down-beat and negative: there is emphasis on duties rather than protection or development and questions asked in section 3 are confusing and irrelevant. The pictures used are patronising, which may seem trivial, but the choice of images speaks volumes…... Read the full response here.

Crofting Law Consultation 2017 closes at midnight

Monday, November 20, 2017

​The Crofting Law Consultation closes at midnight Monday 20th November. Responses can be made online here.

KYLE HQ OPEN DAY

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

​Drop in Crofting Surgery Thursday 16th November

Drop In 10.30-12.30 or book an appointment 12.30-14.00- All Welcome

Shetland Crofters Open Meeting

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Hosted by SCF Chair, Russell Smith and CE Patrick Krause

Wednesday 8th November

Town Hall Chamber, Lerwick 7.00pm

All welcome

News Release: There are opportunities for crofting agriculture and rural development post-Brexit says Federation

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has sent a post-Brexit agriculture and rural development policy position outlining a vision for crofting to key government ministers and politicians emphasising the opportunity for change.

“This paper sets out the current SCF position for agriculture post-Brexit,” said Russell Smith, Chair of the SCF. “We cannot be definitive on a final position as the destination for the UK is still far from clear. Nor does this paper discuss how these aims are to be achieved as that is part of the negotiation process.

“What Scottish agriculture and rural development will look like post-Brexit is on everyone’s minds”, continued Smith, “but we believe that it is vital to maintain agriculture in the remote and less favoured areas of the Highlands & Islands because of the public goods it provides, including preservation of the landscape, environmental protection, economic activity, population retention and quality food production. Read more here