The results of the first Crofting Census indicate that 97% of those who responded claimed that their crofts are cultivated and maintained with 87% of crofters indicating that they are currently resident on their croft.
The Crofting Commission today issued the headline figures from the Crofting Census which was carried out by the Commission in October last year.
Crofting Census forms were sent out to over 16,500 crofts with crofters legally obliged to complete the census forms in full and return them to the Crofting Commission within the three month deadline.
The Crofting Census forms were well received with many crofters seeing the benefit to providing the information and helping to establish a clear picture of the current state of crofting. The Crofting Commission received an 85% return rate.
The Census has confirmed that many crofts are still used for traditional purposes. Of the 97% that responded that they cultivated and maintained their croft, 76% kept or bred livestock, 43% cropped, 22% grew fruit and vegetables and 13% planted trees.
The Census also showed a level of innovation within crofting with 11% of crofts being put to another purposeful use including caravan and camp site, riding centres and golf courses and 20% of crofters indicated that they engaged in conservation activity.
Environment Minister Aileen Macleod said “Crofting brings social, economic and environmental benefits to communities, especially in our remote and rural areas, and this Census has given us a clearer picture of crofting in Scotland today. This invaluable data on how crofts are being used will help nurture and sustain crofting for future generations and - where duties are not being fulfilled or have not been reported - enable the Crofting Commission to work with those crofters on the various options available.”
Crofting Commission Chief Executive, Catriona Maclean said “We are extremely pleased with the response to the Crofting Census. It shows the willingness of crofters to work together to secure the future of crofting and the importance placed on building a strong evidence base on the value of crofting.
“The Census shows a positive picture for crofting with a majority of crofters who replied fulfilling their duties and a high number of active crofts. The data taken from the annual Crofting Census will help us to focus the work of the Commission to effectively regulate crofting.
“The Census also highlighted various possibilities available to those crofters who may not be complying with their duties and the Commission are on hand to advise on the options they may wish to consider. We are also considering how to reach those crofters who failed to reply to ensure they are complying with their duties and participate in the future census”
The Crofting Commission will issue the full data from the Crofting Census next month