The Crofting Commission has recently commissioned a piece of research into how crofting agriculture is currently being supported financially. The research will analyse the current agricultural and environmental support for crofting, while examining the feasibility of creating any new forms of support more specific to crofting. The research will enable the Commission to contribute more informed thinking to the discussions, led by the Scottish Government and its National Council of Rural Advisers, about possible support structures post-Brexit.
The research is being undertaken by Gwyn Jones, a director of the European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism. Mr Jones has almost 20 years of experience as an agricultural advisor in the Highlands and Islands.
Welcoming the research, Crofting Commission Convener, Rod Mackenzie, said, “As well as being the crofting regulator, the Commission’s role includes promoting the interests of crofting. We are aware of how important agriculture support is for the future of crofting, and believe it is vital that the debate about future support systems takes account of the particular challenges faced by crofters. More qualitative evidence is needed to help construct appropriate support for the future and that is why we have commissioned this research.
Mr Jones has already carried out research on common grazings so has a good working knowledge of the crofting system. The research will be completed by the end of June so we look forward to seeing his findings.”
While primarily a regulatory body, the Crofting Commission recognises that the crofting system cannot simply operate by enforcement of regulations alone. There is awareness that support mechanisms are important to the future of the crofting system and it is vital that these deliver to best effect, thereby making it more feasible for the Commission to deliver its regulatory responsibilities.