Tractor in the outer Isles

News

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

Crofting Cabinet Secretary upbeat on future at Federation event

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

The Scottish Crofting Federation was delighted that the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy attended the Spirit of Crofting event in Rothes, Moray on Friday 5th October. Mr. Ewing gave an upbeat speech about the immediate outlook for crofting – despite the looming ‘bùrach’, as he called it, of Brexit.

“He reminded us at the outset about the extent to which crofters’ rights had to be fought for,” said SCF’s chair Russell Smith, “touching on the Battle of the Braes and the memorial to the returning servicemen’s struggle for land in Upper Coll, Lewis, that he visited recently. The years of struggle for land rights are still fresh in the minds of many in the Crofting Counties, and we must not forget this in reforming the legislation. But Mr Ewing was here to ‘celebrate that indomitable crofting spirit’ and the ‘commitment, passion, determination and fortitude shown by a very special community of people, unique to Scotland - the crofting community’.

Read more . . .

Federation event celebrates the role of young people in crofting

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) was delighted to recognise young crofters with an awards ceremony at the ‘Celebrating the Spirit of Crofting’ event in Rothes, Moray last Friday.The ‘Euan MacRae Best Crofting Newcomer Award’ is for new entrants with a keen interest in the land who may have made a start in crofting or are on the road to doing so. This award is named after Euan MacRae of Drumbeg, Sutherland, a young and infectiously enthusiastic crofter who sadly passed away in summer 2017 just after his 19th birthday.

The ‘Young Crofter of the Year Award’ is aimed at those aged 40 and under who have taken their first steps on the crofting ladder or have established themselves in crofting, and are good examples of best practice and success within their field.

Read more . . .

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Crofting Federation calls on the Comhairle to provide concrete assurances on abattoir provision in Stornoway

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) calls on Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to provide reassurance to the crofting community of Lewis and Harris, following a report before the Comhairle’s Policy and Resources committee on the 2nd October which outlined proposals for the sale of the current Stornoway abattoir site to a developer and the, apparently unplanned,relocation of the service.

Read more

New Zealand leader of women in agriculture visits Scotland

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Lindy Nelson, the CEO of the New Zealand Agri-Women`s Development Trust, will be speaking at Dewars Centre, Perth on Thursday 4 October 2018 at 19:30.

2013 Business Woman of the Year, named by Primary Magazine as one of the top ten women in agriculture and Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to agriculture and women, Lindy Nelson is a sheep and beef farmer regarded by many as a visionary leader. She is currently visiting Scotland. The full press release including details of how to book for this event can be found here.

Lindy Nelson will also be addressing the SCF Celebrating the Spirit of Crofting event in Rothes this Friday. Limited tickets are available here.

Crofting Federation announces short-list of nominations for young crofter awards

Friday, September 14, 2018

Next month, two awards will be made by the Scottish Crofting Federation following a call for nominations for Young Crofter of the Year and Best Newcomer Crofter 2018. 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”.

Read more

Payments transition an opportunity to get things right for Crofting says SCF

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has emphasised in its response to the government ‘Stability and Simplicity’ consultation that change is urgently needed in the agricultural and rural development payments regime in order to get a fair deal for crofters.

Read full article here…

To read the full consultation response, click here.

Advance payment scheme could be a life-saver says Crofting Federation

Monday, August 13, 2018

A Scottish Government advance payment scheme to help cash-flow for crofters and farmers affected by adverse weather conditions is welcomed by the Scottish Crofting Federation.

“The National Basic Payment Support Scheme announced by Scottish Government could help some croft businesses that have been hit by the weather extremes and consequent high feed prices” said Patrick Krause, chief executive of the Scottish Crofting Federation. “Realistically, some crofters are worrying about how they will survive in the coming months with the knock-on from a protracted winter then lack of grass due to drought.” Read more here…..

Scottish Crofting Federation welcomes HIE and Crofting Commission collaboration promise

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Following HIE and the Crofting Commission’s announcement at the Black Isle Show that they aim to work collaboratively to further support crofting, SCF chair Russell Smith commented: “The Scottish Crofting Federation welcomes all support for crofting as it can only benefit our members. Since the crofting development role was transferred to HIE from the Crofting Commission, support has been concentrated on community development rather than purely on crofting matters.

“This move may herald more focus on crofting, which provides the bedrock for many communities in the north and west. Without crofting there might not be a community at all in some places, as population drifts away to the towns. As Mr Ewing says, ‘a successful crofting sector helps our rural communities to thrive’. Read more here…..

NEWS RELEASE: Crofting support is shown to be lacking, says Federation

Monday, July 30, 2018

Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has welcomed the research report ‘Support for Crofting’ released today by the Crofting Commission, saying it demonstrates that crofting support is lacking and needs to be redesigned.

“This impartial and well-presented research clearly shows that existing support mechanisms do not work as well as they could for crofting” said Russell Smith, Chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF). “The researcher, Gwyn Jones, examines what works and what does not, and goes on to make recommendations on how support can be improved. This is very timely with the interim phase to agricultural and rural development support being explored in the Scottish Government consultation ‘Stability and Simplicity’, and with the on-going discussions being held on what the Scottish rural support system will look like post-Brexit.

Mr Smith went on, “We are very pleased that the Crofting Commission has taken the initiative to have this research carried out under their remit to ‘promote the interests of crofting and to keep under review matters relating to crofting’ and they selected a very experienced and applied consultant to do the job. It demonstrates a proactive Commission that is willing to be more than just a regulator. We welcome this development of the government agency for crofting.” Read in full here ....

Crofting Federation rates National Council of Rural Advisors’ consultation as “shallow”

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has submitted a response to the National Council of Rural Advisors’ consultation on rural development post-Brexit, branding it as shallow and lacking substance.

“It is all well and good to go over the same old issues of what is holding rural Scotland back” said Russell Smith, Chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF), “but we were hoping that this consultation would be about how Brexit will affect rural development in Scotland and what a Rural Economic Strategy will need to look like to cope with the inevitable changes. The remit of the National Council of Rural Advisors (NCRA) is ‘to provide evidence-based advice on the implications of Scotland leaving the EU and to recommend future actions that could sustain a vibrant and flourishing rural economy’. The consultation itself doesn’t frame any questions in the context of Brexit but rather focuses on problems that exist despite Brexit and doesn’t offer any suggested solutions to further problems that Brexit will bring. It therefore comes across as being shallow and lacking substance.” Read more here…..

Chair, Russell Smith, urges you to comment on Stability and Simplicity proposals for post Brexit policy

Monday, July 23, 2018

I wasn’t going to write about Brexit this month but you just can’t escape it. The most recent proposals from the UK government Chequers away day appear to pledge that we will stick to the EU animal health and welfare standards (I say “appear” as we have to see the detail and then see if the proposals are agreed by parliament and then agreed by the EU – two big “ifs” but that is all we have to plan around). This is good news for our high welfare, high provenance, high nature value beef and lamb. No hormone pumped beef would be allowed to undercut our home reared product. And the Scotch Lamb and Scotch Beef brands should be protected.

There is also a consultation out from the Scottish Government which sets out questions and ideas for post Brexit policy “Stability and Simplicity proposals for a rural funding transition period”. I urge you to read it and comment as the voice of crofters and hill farmers needs to be heard at least as loudly as the big farms of Aberdeenshire, Angus and the Lothians. Read more here…...

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…...

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