Tractor in the outer Isles


Enterprising Crofters Showcase Their Goods

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Scottish Crofting Federation has announced the launch of a new website which showcases food, crafts and holidays available from crofts throughout the Highlands & Islands. Chief Executive, Patrick Krause said “We are proud of the range and quality of produce from our members’ crofts and believe it should be better known. This website enables consumers to get in contact directly with crofters who are producing high quality, sustainably produced food and crafts and our members get an opportunity to add value to what they are producing. In addition, we are highlighting crofts which provide holiday accommodation so that holiday makers can stay on a genuine working croft and, if they want, learn about the crofting way of life and why it is still relevant.”

Russell Smith, a crofter from Sutherland who helped set up the website, said “People who buy croft produce or stay on a croft in the scheme are not only getting a top quality product but are also helping to support a way of life that has proved successful in retaining population in some of the most scenic and remote areas of the country. Crofting also helps to maintain the landscape through its low impact farming methods and preserves much that is good in the culture and heritage of the Highlands and Islands. Visitors can be a part of that.”

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Crofters Take Care of some of Scotland’s Finest Land

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) have pointed out that crofters look after some of Scotland’s most precious environment and deserve public support to do so.

“At this time when our agriculture policy is being reformed, no one can have failed to have noted the, largely justifiable, claims made for why public money should be given to farmers”, said SCF board director Finlay Matheson, “but when the assertion is made that a larger share should be paid to holdings on more productive land the SCF questions what criteria are used to measure the worth of land and those who care for it. Scottish Government and those representing the big agri-businesses argue that they deem support for ‘activity’ as paramount. They use the word ‘activity’ because they can’t use the word ‘production’ – to do so would mean they were calling for production linked subsidies which would be against World Trade Organisation rules. Whilst no one wants to see payments going to those who are not farming, ‘slipper farmers’, there are lots of different types of farming across Scotland and a large proportion of it is extensive livestock production on fragile land. Stocking rates on this land have to be low for environmental benefit but it is being suggested this type of land is under-active. Extensive livestock systems - predominant in the north and west highlands and islands - are often designated High Nature Value and deliver a range of public goods. These areas of natural constraint are as worthy, if not more so, of public support as land which is naturally more ‘productive’ but provides fewer other outputs.”

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