Tractor in the outer Isles

News

Crofting Federation advocates “fair use of convergence uplift”

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) suggests a more just and principled use of the ‘convergence uplift’ £160M received from Europe.

“Having righted the wrong concerning the CAP convergence uplift, whereby the £160 million has finally been allocated to Scotland as it should have been“, said SCF chair, Yvonne White, “It is now imperative that the use of this payment aligns with the principle under which it was devised in the first place.

“The EU Multi-Annual Financial Framework set out the aim of redistributing CAP payments more equitably across the EU, that all countries receiving less than 90% of the EU average would receive a funding uplift. Read more here…...

Highland and Moray Social Crofting Network grows with launch of website

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Following on from a successful inaugural event at Glachbeg croft on the Black Isle, the Scottish Crofting Federation’s social crofting initiative moved to Elchies in Moray to take the next steps to making this groundbreaking scheme a reality. Jointly funded by Moray Leader and Highland Leader this project furthers the principle of green care – the promotion of social, mental and physical wellbeing through working the land. The initiative seeks to develop the inputs from crofters and others who are interested in developing a formal network to explore this emerging labour market as an opportunity for diversification. Read more here…...

Crofting law deemed less important by Scottish Government

Friday, September 13, 2019

Responding to the announcement that crofting legislation is unlikely to proceed through parliament in this session, Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has taken this as a clear indication that crofting does not rank high on the government’s agenda.

“It came as a disappointment to see that crofting legislation did not appear on the Scottish Government’s ‘Programme for Government’ for this year“, said Yvonne White, chair of SCF. “But the announcement by Fergus Ewing that it is unlikely to proceed through parliament at all this session is shocking. Mr Ewing gave the clear commitment on many occasions that the first phase of the legislation, the really important stuff that effects crofters’ day to day lives, would be dealt with in this parliamentary session. Read in full here…..

Crofting Federation: it is crofters’ and hill farmers’ £160M back-pay

Friday, September 06, 2019

Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has laid down a marker on the £160 million agricultural ‘backpayment’ that has been returned to Scotland, pointing-out that it is crofters’ and hill-farmers’ low payments that secured it.

“It is very encouraging that the UK Government has honoured the Prime Minister’s pledge to pay the £160 million that has been owed to Scotland due to the below-average agricultural payments we receive“, said the chair of SCF, Yvonne White. “It is in great part down to the tenacity of the Scottish Government and Scottish producers that we won this, though it was clearly owed to us and it is shameful that we had to make such an effort to get what is due us.” Read in full here…..

Crofting Federation highlights need for land for croft new entrants

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Scottish Crofting Federation has commended the Scottish Government on its announcement of more land having been made available for new start-up farms and stresses that land must also be made available for croft new entrants.

“It is good news that Scottish Government is recognising the need to make more land available to new entrants to agriculture,” said Donald MacKinnon, vice-chair of SCF. “They have announced that 6,400 hectares of land have been contributed by public bodies to create new start-up farms. Both HIE and Highland Council have donated land but there is no mention of whether there has been consideration of the creation of new crofts on this land. It would be remiss if not”. Read in full here…..

Crofting Federation greets SNH admission that sea eagles do kill healthy lambs

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

SCF was pleased to see the publication of the sea eagle management plan by SNH last week, accompanied by an unequivocal admission that healthy lambs are killed by the birds.

SCF chair, Yvonne White, commented, “SCF is closely involved in trying to address the sea eagle issue, which results in sometimes devastating losses to crofters all along the western seaboard. So it is useful for all to see the sea eagle management plan published.

“We particularly welcome the fact that SNH has quite unequivocally stated that healthy lambs are taken. This has been long overdue and is the first time that SNH and, by implication, RSPB, who also sit on the national stakeholders’ group, have so publicly acknowledged this without reservations. It is something that crofters have known for the best part of 20 years.” Read more here….....

Crofting Federation endorses support to Scottish lamb marketing

Monday, May 20, 2019

Scottish Crofting Federation has welcomed government support to promotion of Scotch Lamb PGI and has emphasised the need for local abattoirs, to assure total traceability and provenance.

“It is very encouraging that Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon has announced £200,000 of new funding to Quality Meat Scotland to promote Scotch Lamb PGI”, said Russell Smith, SCF’s lead on agriculture. “It demonstrates faith in our sheep sector and the high quality meat that we produce, much of which starts life on croft grazings. High animal welfare, provenance and total traceability are essential for us to maintain our reputation for the very best quality lamb.” Read more here…..

Highlands and Islands Woodlands Handbook launched

Friday, May 10, 2019

​A new guide for crofters, communities and small woodland owners was launched at the Croft Woodland Conference on 9th May 2019.

The Highlands and Islands Woodlands Handbook, published by the Croft Woodlands Project is a comprehensive guide to establishing, managing and utilising woodland in the varied and often challenging conditions of the crofting counties. Written by Bernard Planterose, and including case studies from crofters across the region, the advice and guidance is based on decades of hands- on experience.

More information

SCF News Release: Federation denounces councillors for betraying crofting

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) reacted to a planning decision with strong criticism of Highland councillors who ignored the regulator and their own policy in advocating using productive inbye croft land for housing development.

“That these councillors claim to represent Highland interests is fallacy” said Yvonne White, Chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF). “Crofting is deeply rooted in the Highland culture and communities. The croft inbye is the good land, the land that we need to protect for food production. It is scarce in the Highlands and Islands and, who knows, we may well be needing every scrap we can get in the near future. There is alternative land that is not suitable for food production available for houses. It is galling to hear councillors, who are supposed to be our representatives, say that housing trumps the need to protect croft inbye. Granting development consent on inbye is rarely necessary and these recent assertions demonstrate a disappointing degree of ignorance or bias against crofting”. Read more here…....

Balance needed between crofting and wildlife says Crofting Federation

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Scottish Crofting Federation has recently carried out an online survey about conflicts between wildlife and crofting, which demonstrates that there are some wildlife species whose numbers are threatening crofting incomes and livestock welfare.

Scottish Crofting Federation’s agriculture spokesman, Russell Smith, commented, “We have had a lot of feedback from members recently on the effects of the increasing numbers of geese, of incursions by deer and of predation by sea eagles, so we launched a survey to get at the facts. Read more .......

SCF meetings find potential for crofting after Brexit

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Scottish Crofting Federation has just concluded a short tour of membership meetings in Lewis and Shetland which had as their theme ‘Threats to Crofting’. A very encouraging turnout and intense degree of engagement at the meetings keenly illustrated the high level of concern amongst crofters.

Read more here ...

Crofting Federation appoints new chair

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Yvonne White, a crofter from Kingsburgh on the Isle of Skye, has been appointed to lead the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF). At a board and council meeting held in Inverness last Friday, two new vice-chairs were also nominated and approved.

“It is a great honour to be appointed to this important role” said Yvonne White, the new chair of SCF, “and not a little daunting. I have to fill the shoes of our immediate past chair, Russell Smith, and also follow on from an impressive line of previous chairs. However, they have all helped to build a vibrant federation that is the only organisation solely dedicated to fighting for crofting. We have our work cut out but we have a strong team to represent our members.” Read more here…...

Crofting Federation assured by government that less favoured area support will be maintained

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has received assurance from the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, that he is absolutely committed to maintaining Less Favoured Area Support at 80% of the 2018 funding level for the next financial years 2019 and 2020.

“Less Favoured Area payments (LFASS) are vital for those of us in the Highlands & Islands who face natural constraints,” said Russell Smith, Chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation, “so the prospect of this support being cut to 80% in 2019 and then to only 40% in 2020 was unthinkable. Read more here…

Crofting must get support for disadvantage, warns Federation

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) warns that crofting is seriously threatened by the drastic cuts to Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme (LFASS) announced by the Scottish Government.

“Reducing the Less Favoured Areas support to 80% of current rates for 2019 sends out a very negative message, but we can live with it”, SCF Chair, Russell Smith, stated, “but to then cut it to a mere 40% for 2020 will be ruinous. The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, has consistently said that further proposed cuts would be “unacceptable” and that he would fight them. Being told now that this vital support to crofters will be reduced to 40% next year is a slap in the face to us in the less favoured areas and indicates failure on the part of Scottish Government. Read more here ......

Crofters wary about the future

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A survey of crofters’ attitudes taken this month by the Scottish Crofting Federation shows that crofters are wary of the future of the livestock industry in the Highlands and Islands.

Only 14% of respondents are confident about the future, as compared to more than twice that number who are despondent (31%). Fifty five per cent said they were uncertain, citing Brexit and the knock-on effect that might have on prices and support payments. Read more here