Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Post Brexit support for smallholders in Scotland  (Read 2908 times)

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Post Brexit support for smallholders in Scotland
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2018, 06:40:00 am »

Floor area maybe suggested but maybe suggested by a "snivel sepant" whos's only been to a petting farm

Both my neighbours were coerced into developing wildlife corridors along the boundary of their land , paperwork, contractors, looks good but " wildlife" cant access the corridor due to the height of the in spec fence. No evidence of wildlife, no payment made , both livid.
"Snivel sepant"(sp)? Seriously?
Coerced? Serioulsy?

Rupert the bear

  • Joined Jun 2015
Re: Post Brexit support for smallholders in Scotland
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2018, 11:55:50 am »
Sorry should be snivel serpent, yes intimated to both that they should apply if they wanted to continue receiving other subsidys

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Post Brexit support for smallholders in Scotland
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2018, 11:57:26 am »
Fleecewife, can I ask what scheme you applied for your hedging under?

It is just that under the SFGS you would have gotten 40% (+20% if you are in an LFA. + 20% if you are under 40 - so either 40% or 60% or 80%) and that is of total costs - plants, fencing materials and labour (regardless of whether it was your labour or a contractors).  A rough fag packet calculation suggests that a 800m double fenced hedge under the SFGS would attack a grant of somewhere between £5-10k.

I don't doubt for a minute that there have been some pointless / badly planned schemes in that past (which I suspect your example came under) - there possibly still are, but if the example of £8.13 for 800m hedging is from a different scheme then lets not use it to beat the SFGS.


If people think a couple of hours finding out about the guidance and filling in the forms for a grant of £5-10k is too onerous then I think I am in the wrong job!


I just think that it is a (potentially) very good scheme based on my experience with its sister scheme.


Hi Oor Wullie


It was an historic example from back when we had quotas and entitlements, and as I don't do acronyms I can't remember the precise scheme involved.  Mr F, my husband who did all the paperwork (and used to work for the old Dept of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food), had to spend a lot of time providing maps, double checking, more forms and so on and SEERAD (about the only non-medical acronym I can cope with) at the time and on behalf of the European Union, or whichever department administered that scheme, had to waste a lot of assessors' time over such a tiny amount.

 My point is that grant schemes are extremely costly to administer, and because the Scottish Government has a small budget to share around a lot of areas, then schemes which give them little return, but cost a lot to administer are likely to be replaced.  Given the poor uptake to date on the Small Farm Grants Scheme under review we are going to have to make a big input to have our opinions taken into consideration.  If we are stuck at this point squabbling amongst ourselves as to what we want, and what individuals find difficult, then there will be no clear message for the Scottish Government so we will be ignored and this scheme is doomed from the start.

There is an opportunity here to get our views heard, both via Rosemary's organisation and individually directly via the consultation document online, but there is a time restriction so can we just get on with it?
« Last Edit: July 04, 2018, 12:13:35 pm by Fleecewife »
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Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Post Brexit support for smallholders in Scotland
« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2018, 01:56:51 pm »
What is the definition of a Croft and what is the definition of a Smallholding?


I live in the south of Scotland, not traditionally thought of as a crofting area.  However, in our local small town, Biggar, we have, running parallel to the High St, North Croft Road and South Croft Road.  In the village of Elsrickle, a few miles away, there is clear evidence in the field boundaries that this was once a crofting village, with long strips running down a south-facing slope.  I haven't researched this further  so don't ask me how widespread this evidence is for crofting throughout Scotland.


A suggestion for the Scottish Government:  How about turning the whole of Scotland into Crofting Counties so the Crofting grant system can apply throughout the country?
« Last Edit: July 04, 2018, 07:54:30 pm by Fleecewife »
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Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

   Five Freedoms
   # Freedom from Hunger and Thirst.
   # Freedom from Discomfort.
   # Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease.
   # Freedom to Express Normal Behavior.
   # Freedom from Fear and Distress

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Post Brexit support for smallholders in Scotland
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2018, 05:15:21 pm »
What is the definition of a Croft and what is the definition of a Smallholding?

A suggestion for the Scottish Government:  How about turning the whole of Scotland into Crofting Counties so the Crofting grant system can apply throughout the country?
That is indeed a good thought. In fact, it was quietly suggested during the consultaion on the review of crofting legislation.
A croft is a small agricultural unit that is covered by the Crofting legislation. The 1886 Crofting Acts defined the crofting counties as Caithness, Sutherland, Ross and Cromarty, Inverness-shire, Argyll, the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland, so basically the NW Highlands and Islands. The area was recently expanded to take in Moray and maybe another few small areas - to align the crofting areas with that of Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The reason for the original area was political - the landowners of NE Scotland and Highland Perthshire didn't want included so they lobbied successfully to have the legislation cover only those areas that had been visited by the commissioners charged with drawing up the legislation. So areas that were clearly crofting areas like Arran, NE Scotland and Highland Perthshire were excluded. Remember the purpose of the crofting legislation was to protect tenants in the wake of the Clearances. Some but not all crofts have inbye land plus a share in commion grazing.

However, as you rightly observe, Fleecewife, the structure of lowland agriculture wasn't always as it is today. The same clearances of the Lowlands took place before those in the Highlands - they were less violent, perhaps (only in Galloway was there violent resistance), and there were towns and planned villages for the country folk to move to and to be employed but people were still forcibly cleared off the land in the name of Improvement. If you are interested, there is a very good and accessible book called "The Lowland Clearances - Scotland's Silent Revolution 1760 - 1830"
However, being a croft has advantages and disadvantages, depending on how you look at it. @oor wullie may wish to contribute here. There are responsibilities to being a crofter, broadly, the land must be kept in good condition and not neglected; it must be used for agriculture, horticulture or woodland or "other productive use"; the crofter must live within 32km of the croft. Over the centuries, crofting legislation has been changed and added to - right to buy lead to owner-occupier crofters for example.

I kind of like the idea of extending the crofting legislation to all of Scotland - OneScotland and all that. Folk in Moray etc that have just been included have the option of registering as a croft but I'm not sure if any have. I don't know why that is. However, until the crofting legislation is sorted out and rendered fit for the 21st century, it probably wouldn't be that attractive.
Oops, have to go feed pigs  ;D

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Post Brexit support for smallholders in Scotland
« Reply #20 on: July 05, 2018, 11:07:06 pm »
That's really interesting thanks Rosemary.
One immediate drawback I can see from what you have written might be that smallholders may consider there would be a certain loss of their freedom of choice were they to become crofters.  I don't know if that is the case, as smallholders are already hemmed in by legislation to an extent, but it does hint that there might be a downside.  But from the point of view of making the rules and grants simpler both to administer and to apply for, using an existing set-up would be good.


As I see it, crofting is all about community, but my experience of smallholding is that the opposite is true - we are often seen as the odd ones out in a system of medium and large farms, not fitting into any group, and a bit patronised, as if we are just playing at farming.  Are we just playing at farming?  Are crofters more dependent on their croft income, or has the emphasis changed there too?  It would be interesting to know what proportion of small farmers categorised as smallholders, actually live on the profits from their business.
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

   Five Freedoms
   # Freedom from Hunger and Thirst.
   # Freedom from Discomfort.
   # Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease.
   # Freedom to Express Normal Behavior.
   # Freedom from Fear and Distress

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Post Brexit support for smallholders in Scotland
« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2018, 08:10:27 am »
Indeed that could be true, Fleecewife. Depends what you are using your small landholding for, I guess. If it's any of the purposes of crofting - agriculture, horticulture, woodland or otheruseful purpose, then I don't knwo what restrictions they would be. Crofters are fairly imaginative in what they do. And yes, they are terated very seriously and they take themselves very seriously, in the contribution that they make to their communities.
Are we playing at farming? Any more than the huntin', shootin' fishin' landowners play at farming? I don't know. There are good smallholders and poor ones and the same in "big"farms and crofts, although maybe the criteria for emasuring is different. The crofting counties are afflicted with unmanaged and poorly managed crofts.
I think sometimes we choose to be the odd ones out - that's what defines us, maybe. And yet we are governed by the same rules as any other farmer.

My gut feeling would be that most crofters have, if not off croft income, then diversified income say from tourism. Maybe those that farm a number of crofts and make good use of common grazings make their living from farming alone.
Smallholding Scotland is working with the Royal Society of Statisticians to put together a survey of Scottiah smallholders to improve the information about the sector so that there can be more informed discussion about it and maybe more recognition of its worth to Scotland.

oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: Post Brexit support for smallholders in Scotland
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2018, 10:05:45 am »
One of the reasons crofting has been so well supported in the past is that the legal protections given to crofters are the only reason that may communities still exist today.  You could argue that the crofting act halted an ethnic cleansing of large parts of the highlands.   The interior of Sutherland used to be just as densely populated as any coastal areas 200 years ago but now there are thousands of square km without a single human inhabitant, the same would have happened to most of the remaining areas of habitation if it wasn't for the crofting act.
So yes, Fleecewife, I think that is quite a perceptive observation, crofting tends to be the foundation of many of these communities as opposed to smallholders who have had to carve out a smallholding in areas where most smallholdings/crofts disappeared more than 100 years ago.

As an aside I think it is probably less difficult to carve out a new holding in the non-crofting areas as land is available (even if hard to afford) whereas in the crofting areas most land that is not already a croft belongs to large estates for whom money is no object and their objective is to accumulate land (without people) not to let new people onto the land.

In terms of grants I think there is probably a connection here too.  Crofters are usually quite happy to ask for help (both financially from the gov or practically from others in the community - there is usually a feeling to some degree of "we are in this together").  I have met a number of smallholders who are fiercely individualistic and part of their desire to be smallholders is to be able to their reduce reliance on others (whether that is other people, shops, government etc).  I knew a smallholder who refused to register for basic payment or even tell the authorities he had pigs (bought them on the black market and killed them himself at home) because he didn't want the government to have information they could use to spy on him!


Very few crofters earn a full time living from their crofts, (nearly) all will have other jobs, sometimes 3 or 4 other jobs but crofting will be an important part of that mix of incomes.

lord flynn

  • Joined Mar 2012
Re: Post Brexit support for smallholders in Scotland
« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2018, 10:54:04 am »
What is the definition of a Croft and what is the definition of a Smallholding?


I live in the south of Scotland, not traditionally thought of as a crofting area.  However, in our local small town, Biggar, we have, running parallel to the High St, North Croft Road and South Croft Road.  In the village of Elsrickle, a few miles away, there is clear evidence in the field boundaries that this was once a crofting village, with long strips running down a south-facing slope.  I haven't researched this further  so don't ask me how widespread this evidence is for crofting throughout Scotland.


A suggestion for the Scottish Government:  How about turning the whole of Scotland into Crofting Counties so the Crofting grant system can apply throughout the country?
I just wanted to add that I live (near Fleecewife) very close to Tinto and there's evidence for crofts all around it and on existing farms round about. Sorry, am more of a history geek than know anything about farming payments!

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Post Brexit support for smallholders in Scotland
« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2018, 12:22:12 pm »



Oh wow, these are difficult questions to answer!


What support would I like?  Well for me it has to be based around:


1) Knowledge (e.g. support for animal husbandry or permaculture courses)
2) Support for the wider supply chain (most critically keeping abbatoirs accessible to small producers)
3) Support in reaching local markets


So whilst I'm happy to apply for the standard rural payments grants, I see that purely as levelling the playing field, and would really rather they weren't needed at all. And yes, whilst I'd love funding for a new fence / barn / whatever, I share the concerns already expressed about then having to do things in a certain way to meet grant conditions.  Our smallholding is already an exercise in the tail wagging the dog, without making things any worse!

The income bar question is tricky too. If you have an income bar, that excludes most smallholders, who needed to have other income in order to buy the smallholding in the first place. However, if you remove it, does that then mean that the grants go to people who are relatively rich already, and hence don't really need the support, i.e. it is not an enabler?

"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Post Brexit support for smallholders in Scotland
« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2018, 05:07:20 pm »

Oh wow, these are difficult questions to answer!

The income bar question is tricky too. If you have an income bar, that excludes most smallholders, who needed to have other income in order to buy the smallholding in the first place. However, if you remove it, does that then mean that the grants go to people who are relatively rich already, and hence don't really need the support, i.e. it is not an enabler?
But why should there only be an income bar on the one grant scheme for smallholders and small farmers? That's about equity and fairness. Nobody asks Mr 1000acre Farmer how much his wife earns, in assessing his access to grant funding for a pellet burner to heat his polytunnels so he can sell strawberries to Sainsburys three weeks earlier.
And can you assess someone's "richness' from their income?
And if the project is sound and meets the scheme's criteria, why shoudl I be excluded because of my income? Surely it's the project that matters?


oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: Post Brexit support for smallholders in Scotland
« Reply #26 on: July 06, 2018, 07:34:14 pm »
There was going to be a, sort of, income bar on the very richest farmers in the current CAP scheme (a maximum of something like €0.25million that any one farming business could claim per year) but when the EU was negotiating the policy, that was vetoed by.....the UK gov.  Nice to know if you have enough land to be making astronomical claims then someone in government will stand up for you...........

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Post Brexit support for smallholders in Scotland
« Reply #27 on: July 06, 2018, 09:35:24 pm »
Fair enough, Rosemary - if 'big' farmers can get grants without having their income assessed, then so should small ones.
Overall, I'd like to see money go to people who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford to do their projects, or worthy projects supporting local food production which wouldn't be viable without support. So, if there's a limited pot of money, I'd rather it didn't go to people who already have pots of their own money (I'm not saying that's you Rosemary!!).
The trouble is, unless you earn a decent wodge to start with, you can't buy the land to get started, so almost by definition, there are very few smallholders who would be 'poor' enough put in a claim!
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

 

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