The Scottish Crofting Federation’s conference for 2013 “Common Grazings: Utilising Potential”, held in Stornoway, brought the potential of common grazings into sharp focus. The conference, opened by the Scottish Government’s Deputy Director for Agriculture and Rural Development, David Barnes, explored how the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), including the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP), and development initiatives such as community renewable energy projects could help to revive the use of common grazings and realise their huge potential for crofting communities.
Chair of the SCF, Derek Flyn said “Common grazings make up a large proportion of land under crofting tenure, extending to nearly 600,000 hectares. Today they still play an important part in the livelihoods of many crofters and provide a significant amount of public benefit, environmentally as well as aesthetically. But, for a number of contributing factors, common grazings are being under-used and even abandoned in many areas. The conference has been looking at how this vast resource can be utilised, providing income for the crofters who manage them, generating development revenue for crofting communities and delivering public goods.”