The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) is appealing to crofters, especially women and young crofters, to stand as candidates for the Crofting Commissioner elections.

“It is imperative that we get a decent number of experienced crofters to stand for the election of Crofting Commissioners”, said Russell Smith, Chair of the SCF. “So we are encouraging people to stand. We want a range of candidates for crofters to choose from, including women and young people, with contested elections in all constituencies so that the best people get in. We are convinced that the only way to get the Commission back to good health is to get the right people on to the Commission board.

“Gender balance in government has been topical in the press lately and it is no less important in crofting regulation. We need a fair representation of women on the board of the Crofting Commission.

“More alarmingly”, Mr Smith added, “is that the average age of crofters is 59. It is therefore essential that we get young crofters involved in crofting and in the governance of crofting. It may be a cliché but it is true nonetheless: the young are the future of crofting.”

Crofters are due to go to the polls on 16th March 2017 to elect six members to the Board of the Crofting Commission. The organisation is the only public body in Scotland where the majority of Board members are elected by the people it regulates, with the other three Commissioners appointed by Scottish Ministers.

Mr Smith continued, “We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that crofters have made it clear that they want a Crofting Commission. This body is very unusual in having a majority elected board – it is crofters regulating crofting. The pay is good and hours are part-time so the job fits with work on the croft or other part time work. The deadline for nominations is fast-approaching on 26 January so we encourage all crofters with appropriate experience, especially women crofters and young crofters, to stand for election. Crofting needs you.”