Succession Planning: Building a Stronger Crofting Future

Crofter with flock of sheep. Credit:Crofting Commission
Susan Thomson

Crofting is at the heart of many rural communities and has been for generations, throughout the Highlands and Islands. The Commission has responsibility for both regulating and promoting crofting as a viable and beneficial way of managing land and supporting communities.

The Development Team within the Commission is working with many organisations and with crofters and common grazings to support and encourage sustainable development in crofting communities.

The team is set to launch a new project, targeted to support Crofters in North West Sutherland, Uist and Barra, to think about the future of their croft and support them with planning the succession of their croft. Crofters in these target areas will receive an information pack to their homes to give them information and support to help with succession planning.

Croft succession planning is the process of ensuring that a croft is passed on in a prearranged and informed way. Croft succession is relevant to all crofters, regardless of age, giving real benefits to families and communities and helps to avoid the difficulties that can come when succession plans have not been put in place. Effective succession planning will help to ensure that crofts are passed on to future generations and new entrants who can meet the responsibilities that they have as a crofter. The information packs being sent to crofters includes information on how to plan for succession as well as sources of help and support.

There are a number of things that crofters can do to plan for succession. One important step is to make a Will. A Will ensures that a croft is passed on to the chosen successor. Another option is to pass on the croft during the crofter’s lifetime, which is known as living succession. Living succession will give the crofter the opportunity to share knowledge and experience with their chosen successor.

In addition to the information packs, crofters and the wider community are invited to attend an informal drop-in session where Commission staff and support organisations will be on hand to offer support. The first session will be held on Monday 6th of November from 5-8pm in Lochinver Village Hall, followed by Balivanich Hall on Tuesday the 14th of November from 5-8pm and Castlebay Hall on Wednesday the 15th of November from 11am-2pm.

Succession planning is essential for the future of crofting. By planning ahead and being proactive with succession, crofters can ensure that their crofts remain viable, active and can make a positive impact on their community.

More info from the Crofting Commission here