Scottish Crofting Federation appoints new CEO

Donna Smith

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has appointed Donna Smith as its new chief executive to replace Patrick Krause, who is stepping down in October.

“We had plenty of interest in the post and interviewed highly competent candidates … but of course it comes down to one and we were unanimous in our decision to offer the post to Donna Smith …” said Jonathan Hedges, who was announced as SCF chair last month.

Smith said: “Having worked for a long time in crofting policy, and having run my own business consultancy whilst also serving on boards of charitable organisations, I hope to bring experience and knowledge of both crofting and organisational management to this exciting position.

“I am delighted to take up this new role with the crofters’ representative organisation …

“There are many challenges for crofting in Scottish rural policy formation so we need a strong collective voice to speak on behalf of crofters and crofting.

“My priority will be to grow the SCF membership and ensure that the voice of crofters is heard loud and clear in policy circles.

“Scotland is a very vibrant and progressive country, looking to build a new, more nature-friendly agriculture system and reforming how we use our land.

“These issues work hand in hand and crofting is at the centre, delivering a unique system of land tenure that supports keeping more folk on the land and delivering high nature value food production.

“Crofting is good for people, good for production and good for the planet and it will be my privilege to work on behalf of crofters and crofting in continuing to promote these points.”

When he took over as chairman last month, Hedges said: “A new agricultural support system is being developed for Scotland now that we are no longer under the European Common Agriculture Policy, and crofting must be represented, especially for support to smaller units and the more challenged and fragile areas.

“It is absolutely imperative that crofters join together under one banner to protect our rights.

“The climate emergency is going to dominate all we do and crofters have an important part to play, having a very sound record in good management of our environment.

“A significant proportion of high nature value areas in Scotland are under crofting tenure, for example the machair, known for its incredible biodiversity, and peatlands, which are the best ecosystem for sequestering carbon.

“Crofting is starting from a good position, but we can always do more to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, measures such as restoring degraded peatland, extensive mixed grazing and planting low-density woodland are just some of the many ways that crofters can help tackle the climate crisis.”