Around one in five Scottish farmers and crofters has not yet started filling in their application form for subsidy support – less than a week before the deadline closes for applications.
Farming union NFU Scotland (NFUS) said the latest Scottish Government figures suggest that as of May 9, the number of Single Application Forms (SAFs) submitted was 20% lower than the same date in 2020.
Completion of the SAF, which closes for applications at midnight on Monday, May 17, is required to access subsidy support through schemes such as the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), Greening, and Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS).
NFUS said the government figures also suggest less than half of the SAF forms in the system are still in draft form and almost 4,000 SAFs – representing approximately 20% of all applications – have not been started.
“With less than a week to go, the number of SAF forms still to be started is worrying given how important these support streams are to Scottish agriculture,” said NFUS president, Martin Kennedy.
“Concern has also been raised about the number of forms started but not completed and we urge those with forms in a draft state to go on and complete their application at the earliest opportunity and ensure that it is properly submitted.”
He called on all farmers and crofters to prioritise these annual application forms in the next few days and said the Scottish Government has organised out-of-hours cover for its rural offices over this coming weekend – May 15-16 – and up until the deadline on Monday to ensure farmers had access to help when completing the forms.
Any farmers or crofters experiencing problems completing their SAF online are asked to contact the Scottish Government IT service desk on 0131 244 6202.