A new smallholders association has been formed in Scotland to represent the 20,000 small-scale producers who farm 30ha of land or less.
Smallholding Scotland chairwoman Rosemary Champion says no other organisation is able to represent the specific aims and issues of the sector at Government level.
“When changes are made to grant schemes, for instance, we are not
consulted like the crofters are – yet the Scottish Government’s agricultural
census shows we make up a third of all holdings in the country,” she said.
“And there are probably even more if you count all the small acreages where horses are kept, so we are a substantial sector.
“We are focused on providing access to land and local abattoirs, securing
support for traditional breeds and financial support for small-scale farming and horticulture.
“We also want to provide an information resource for members because many of us have come to agriculture after careers in other sectors.
“It can be difficult to find information that is specific to small-scale farming
so we are trying to get funding for an information hub.”
To thrash out the issues and understand the priorities of members and
prospective members, Smallholding Scotland is holding a conference at
Pitcairngreen in Perthshire later this month where the focus will be on
networking and learning.
Mrs Champion described the event as an important milestone for the
“We might not be able to host a representative from all 20,000
smallholdings in the venue, but we do believe our line-up of first-class speakers should attract a good audience eager to learn something new to take back to their own smallholding enterprise,” she said.
Soil health and sustainable management of soils are key topics and delegates will hear from crop and environmental expert Audrey Litterick, on the GREAT Soils Project, and
established smallholder Lorraine Ishak, on a permaculture project.
There will be sessions on the care of new-born livestock, the use of social media and routes to market for agricultural produce. Risk services consultant Stuart Daly, from rural insurer NFU Mutual, will give a talk on health and safety.
Brian Lochhead from the insurer’s Glasgow office said: “We are particularly keen to emphasise the importance of health and safety on the smallholding, given the unfortunate performance of the agricultural sector as a whole, across all sizes of holdings, in the league table for industrial accidents.”
Details of how to book a ticket for the conference, which takes place on
February 16, can be found on the