Friendly, reliable and expert advice for crofters.
Crofting provides more than food production; it provides high nature value farming, appealing landscapes, a mosaic of habitats for flora and fauna, local businesses, economic and community benefits and population retention in remote areas.
Who we are
Our advisors' aim is to support and progress crofting and provide advice and assistance to enable crofters to carry out the plans for their businesses. Our team offers independent advice, backed up by research and knowledge from SRUC specialists. Our advisors are based in offices across the crofting counties and many are crofters themselves as well as having experience and knowledge of crofting systems.
What we do
We offer cost-effective core subscription packages and advice tailored to your individual needs. Over 2,200 crofters take advantage of the subscription each year, benefitting from timely advice, knowledgeable advisors and local offices. In addition, services such as business planning, farm support payment scheme applications, Crofting Registration, sheep records and CAGS applications are very popular.
How we can support your crofting business
We understand everything crofting and with a dedicated team across the crofting counties, we can help you with all aspects of livestock and crops enterprises, grants and Crofting forms.
Please get in touch with your local advisor for an informal chat.
"It has helped me to rethink some of the things I was doing and changed my plans, as a result saving me money."
"Our township is in a much stronger position, from a financial angle, and also in relation to grazings and livestock management as a result of ongoing dialogue."
"SAC Consulting staff are so knowledgeable and have helped us a great lot of times on all different aspects of crofting."
"I can now make decisions with more confidence."
Services we offer
Looking to improve your suckler herd performance? We can provide rations, condition score, plan your grassland policy, reseeding, rotational grazing and forage and review performance with you.
Looking to improve your flock? We can review figures, provide practical plans, suggest feeding regimes and assist with sheep records.
Not enough time for filling in forms? We complete IACS or SAF, CAGS applications, LFASS, SUSSS ewe hogg scheme, SSBSS Beef calf scheme, sea eagle scheme, agricultural census, decrofting, croft registrations and more!
Crofting Register & CC applications
Crofting is a form of land tenure that is unique to Scotland. A croft is usually a small agricultural land holding which is normally let in a tenancy – often with associated shares in common grazing. The size of crofts can vary, but average size is around 5ha. Individual crofts are not usually able to support full-time agricultural operations, though some crofters have tenancies of multiple crofts, which can build up to a full time occupation.
There are legislative duties that must be adhered to when taking over a croft. These include residence on or near the croft, plus duty not to neglect, but to cultivate and maintain the croft for agricultural or another purpose.
The system of crofting has a variety of regulatory actions that are required to manage a croft holding. These include:
- Sub-let – Temporary transfer of a crofting tenancy.
- Assignation – permanent transfer of a crofting tenancy.
- Decrofting – removing land from croft tenure, usually for the purposes of house building.
- Apportionment – apportioning shares in your common grazing that are fenced for your own sole use.
- Crofting Register – a definitive map based record of the extent of your croft – which is required to complete many of the above regulatory actions.
SAC has offices in all of the crofting counties. We have experienced staff, many of whom are crofters and small farmers themselves. We know that crofting legislation is complex and we get many queries from crofting clients on this topic.
In addition, SAC can prepare and submit the forms and maps required to apply for all the croft regulatory actions. Why not give your local office a call or email to find out what we can do to help your croft progress.
Top tips for caravan site diversification
The crofting counties have seen an increase in caravan and motorhome visitors. Is this an opportunity for your croft or common grazing?
Read our top tips on practical things to consider to help you decide if you want to diversify and what preparations you may need.
Assistance for Common Grazings
Running a Common Grazing is no simple task, but CG’s offer many benefits, such as:
- Common grazings accounts for approximately 6% of Scotland’s land mass and most are of High Nature Value (HNV)
- Managing the ground for agri-environment can only be done at the common grazings level via a committee
- The use of common ground is often a key attribute of crofting rarely shared with smallholdings
The focus on common grazings is increasing. Stakeholders have been working with the Crofting Commission to try and improve guidance and reinvigorate common grazings.
Some of the knotty subjects discussed include: allocation of grazing rights vs allocation of shares for subsidy purposes; crofting legislation vs subsidy claiming; agri-environment management and income; managing common grazings with active and inactive shareholders; and the lack of new blood and the increasing age of many graziers.
Sadly a high proportion of committees are currently ‘out of office’. To help remedy this, committees out of office can get assistance through CAGS to get an advisor to help them set up a new grazings committee and be confident of their remits and that their regulations are fit for purpose.
SAC advisors are well placed to help Common Grazing committees look at setting up in office, co-operative structures, agri-environment and many practical livestock and cropping issues. We are more than happy to chat through what we can do to help your CG, so please get in touch.
Croft Subscription Service
Benefit from access to our independent, impartial and professional advisors, providing peace of mind, reassurance and up-to-date technical advice.
If you are a crofter or have a small holding of less than 30 hectares, then you can make use of the subscription for advice on a range of topics.
Crofting grants and support
Crofting Support and subsidy schemes
Agriculturally active crofters with over 3 hectares of land are entitled to the same subsidies that are available to the rest of the farming industry, including Basic Payment Scheme, Greening, and Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS). Crofters may also be eligible for the Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme (SUSSS) and the Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme (SSBSS).
All of these schemes require the submission of a single application form (SAF), also commonly referred to as an IACS form. These forms are best completed online, but paper copies can be requested. Our SAC consultants complete thousands of SAF forms each year and understand the complex rules, such as the requirements to meet stocking density rules and supply forms for the seasonal let of Common Grazings.
Consultants can complete the form on your behalf and provide a clear and transparent price.
There are also grant schemes specifically designed to benefit crofters.
Crofting Agricultural Grant Scheme (CAGS)
This scheme provides grants for crofters, whether tenant or owner occupier crofter, to make improvements to their crofts and help to sustain their business. Funds of up to £25,000 for individual crofters can be used for capital projects, such as the construction of agricultural buildings, fencing, drainage, woodland, grassland improvement, access tracks, handling facilities and hardstandings. The grant rate for an individual crofter is 60%, and for crofters under the age of 41 and in business for less than 5 years, it is 80%.
Common Grazing committees are eligible for 80% grant rate, up to £125,000.
Applications are accepted by SGRPID at any time of year and are judged on several criteria, including value for money and contribution to the economy. SAC consultants can help with the application and claim process to ensure a thorough application.
Croft House Grant (CHG)
This scheme is designed to help retain people within the crofting areas of Scotland by providing grants for crofters to improve and maintain the standards of crofter housing. Funding of 40% of the costs up to a maximum of £38,000 in high priority areas and up to £28,000 in standard priority areas can be used for new builds, major repairs, internal improvements and rebuilding work. Projects below £8,000 in value are ineligible for grant aid. There are limits applied to the size of a new build house which relate to the number of bedrooms and applications are judged according to several criteria, including need for accommodation and plans for the croft. Applications are accepted all year round, but decisions are typically made four times a year.
Contact your local SAC office to find out more and how we can help.
Other relevant websites
Crofting Commission – The Crofting Commission look after crofting regulation, and keep a database of crofts and Common Grazings.
Crofts & Small Farms – This website contains useful information for crofters, on many aspects of crofting livestock, crops and grants, along with information for Common Grazings.
Registers of Scotland Crofting – To view the map-based Register of croftland.
SNHi Map search – To check whether your croft or Common Grazing sits within a designated site.
Find out more about our services
Our consultants in 25 offices across Scotland and northern England turn research into advice and advantage for business and public sector alike.