Farming and crofting is hard work in this area, mostly due to the climate, but also due to the type of soil and the distance from markets. Most of the farms in the Cairngorms National Park are livestock farms. Farmers and crofters keep beef cows, sheep and grow small areas of crops. Most of the crops are for feeding to livestock – grass for hay and silage, turnips for sheep in winter – however some crops such as barley are grown for whisky distilleries.
Many of the farmers and crofters in the park are in ‘agri-environment’ schemes, which means that they take extra care of the environment by careful grazing, growing special crops for birds, and growing wildflower meadows.
Higher up above the grassland and cropped fields, moorland provides habitat for grouse, red deer and hill sheep that have grazed the uplands of Scotland for centuries.
Farming is about to undergo great changes, with farmers and crofters stretched further in providing the economic, social and environmental benefits needed by their area. It is vital that the good work practiced by our farmers and crofters continues and the National Park Authority is doing everything it can to make sure it does, through advice, support, various projects and special learning events.