Agriculture is an important sector in the local economy and the agricultural census of 1997 indicated that some 3,185 people worked in agriculture in the area.
The ABI figures for agricultural employment are not particularly accurate showing only 2% of employees in the agriculture and fishing sector. As most farmers are proprietors rather than employees they will not be included in the workplace based ABI survey. According to the 2001 Agricultural census there are around 8,500 people engaged in agriculture in the Highland area. Only 12% of these can be classified as employees however.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) estimates that agriculture in the Highlands generates around £250 million per annum for the region’s economy. Although the agriculture sector in Sutherland is less significant to the economy than it is to the Highlands area overall, it remains an important sector in terms of generating income.