Smallholder farming and crofting contributes to the economic development of rural areas and can benefit biodiversity through generally lower intensive management practices. We compare the characteristics, past behaviours and intentions for investments between the islands and the mainland. Using the farmer intentions survey – a survey of 2,494 Scottish farmers conducted in 2018 – and defining smallholders and crofters as those managing a business or holding of under 30 hectares, we find that there are differences in characteristics, management influences and investment behaviours between the two groups based on their location.
Future agricultural policy for Scotland should aim to address the challenges faced by smallholders and crofters on islands and the mainland and how investment in agricultural and environmental capital by these groups can encourage both productivity gains whilst meeting climate and biodiversity targets in the future.
This research briefing can be downloaded in full below. For further details please contact Andrew Barnes (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jenny McMillan (email@example.com)
This work was funded under the Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Programme under the Rural Industries work package, specifically the ‘Resilience of rural economies to key external drivers ‘ (RD 2.4.1) and ‘How rural economies can adapt to key external
drivers’ (RD 2.4.2) work streams.