Farmers have been advised the overwhelming focus on coronavirus and keeping families safe mustn’t be allowed to distract them from filling out the Single Application Form (SAF) before the May 15 deadline.
The warning from NFU Scotland comes in the wake of new coronavirus controls, changes to daily life, the busy spring lambing and calving period and continuing concern over future trade arrangements
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing confirmed the SAF was open and more than 90% of applications were submitted online last year.
“I would encourage everyone who wishes to do so to submit online again as soon as possible,” he said.
“Having now entered the Brexit transition period, I would remind farmers that the farm payment element of the Common Agricultural Policy payments are guaranteed at current levels until the end of the UK parliamentary term. As set out in our Stability and Simplicity strategy, we are implementing a five-year transition period in Scotland, which will see us retain direct support payments to farmers unlike in England.”
For anyone not submitting online, paper forms have to be requested from local area offices where farmers can also book appointments with staff.
Union president Andrew McCornick acknowledged the uncertainty and concern felt by all communities this week, but added: “The crucial thing for all farmers and crofters to bear in mind is that, as things stand, it is business as usual for all CAP schemes and that includes completing this year’s SAF.
“I would encourage all members to begin working on their SAF forms, which are the most important forms that Scottish farmers fill out every year, to ensure they meet the May 15 deadline.
“The important thing is to take plenty of time and not leave it to the last minute.”