Tractor in the outer Isles


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.

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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…...

Life Membership

What keeps crofters awake at night… Crofting Federation finds out

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Scottish Crofting Federation recently surveyed its members and found no big surprises in their responses: number one worry is that they need to earn a living.

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) asked its members what their greatest concern for the future of crofting is. The biggest single worry was economic viability; around 37% quoted this or Brexit or future support arrangements. Russell smith, Chair of SCF, commented, “This is not a surprise as no-one is going to keep crofting if they can’t earn a living from it. There are two issues here: Brexit could lead to reduced exports and increased imports with lower standards for beef and lamb, and also leaving the Common Agricultural Policy will mean new support systems for agriculture, probably with a reduced overall total. Read more…

Chair, Russell Smith, on Post-Brexit Agriculture

Saturday, June 16, 2018

I’m going to talk in this column about Brexit – no, please don’t stop reading straight away. This is rightly a major concern to crofters and hill farmers in Sutherland as it could affect the very existence of agriculture in the Highlands & Islands. Two recent authoritative reports highlight this (both worth reading when we do get a rainy day). Read more here…..

SCF encouraged by direction of travel in agricultural policy strategy report

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has welcomed the direction of travel recommended by the Scottish Government ‘Agricultural Champions’ in their report “A Future Strategy for Scottish Agriculture” citing it as “croft-proofed”.

“We were concerned about the lack of coverage of crofting in the interim report but the Champions have taken on board our response. The report has been ‘croft-proofed’ and there is much that we can heartily endorse,” said the chair of SCF, Russell Smith. “For example, when discussing Natural Capital the Champions acknowledge that Scotland has huge areas of less favoured permanent grassland and rough grazing, where high nature value farming is both traditional and common. They recommend that, ‘Future policies must address the specific needs of this type of farming, including the fact that low profitability threatens its very survival.’ This is indeed the case for our members and ties in with the recent study carried out for the Highlands and Islands Agricultural Support Group.” Read more…....