Crofters have pointed to a ’shameful’ lack of acknowledgement for their contribution to Scottish agriculture, as they rejected the Scottish Government’s published vision for the industry’s future.
The Future of Scottish Agriculture: A Discussion Document was launched at last year’s Highland Show and invited conversation on industry issues.
The consultation period ended last week and Scottish agricultural bodies have given mixed responses.
The Scottish Crofting Federation’s chairman Fiona Mandeville said: "Despite successive Ministers for crofting giving assurances the Scottish Government is very supportive of crofting this does not seem to be shared by those who make agricultural policy."
She claimed crofting was only mentioned in one of the nine outcomes which support the vision for the industry.
"Crofting plays a vital role in the supply of high quality replacement stock and store animals, in maintaining High Nature Value landscape and in retaining vibrant rural populations," she added.
"But despite the huge contribution crofting makes, it is hardly recognised in this top-level document."
The Scottish Government document’s vision is for a green, innovative and profitable agriculture industry which is outward-looking and resilient, supporting economic growth, environment and communities and contributing to global food security.
The outcomes to realising this vision included strong sustainable growth in profits, agriculture working as part of Scotland’s food and drink industry and the industry being resilient to shocks and challenges.
The document also aimed for agriculture to be a valued contributor to Scottish society.
NFU Scotland said it welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the Scottish Government’s discussion document.
NFUS’ vision stated: "By 2025, Scottish agriculture will comprise of profitable, efficient and innovative farm businesses and crofts, where farm income is derived from the market place rather than support payments.
"As a consequence, Scottish agriculture’s pivotal role is enhanced even further."
NFUS gave several commitments about what it would ensure for Scottish agriculture.
Following the claims by the Scottish Crofting Federation, the Scottish Government said its vision aimed to optimise the productive use of the country’s natural resources.