Scottish farmers have only days left to complete their Single Application Forms (SAF), but the latest estimates suggest more than 8000 forms are still outstanding.
All SAFs, which are vital if producers want to access support schemes such as the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), Greening, and the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) must be completed online by May 16.
However, it looks as though farmers are going right to the wire as the Scottish Government says 4600 forms are still in a draft state and the latest figures suggest 3500 haven’t even been started.
The Scottish Government is preparing for the last-minute onslaught by organising out-of-hours cover for IT-related issues over the coming weekend as well as after office hours cover on Monday May 16 until midnight.
NFU Scotland (NFUS) director of policy, Jonnie Hall, said there was concern that so many forms remain to be completed.
“Farmers and crofters must prioritise these annual application forms in the next few days. The deadline is fast approaching, and we urge all eligible applicants to concentrate on completing their submission now rather than at the last minute,” he said.
“This year marks this first where applications are entirely online. Those who previously submitted their SAF on paper have been sent a number of reminders on the transition.
If they require assistance to get online then they can contact their local area office. It’s vital that they do this as soon as possible so that they can submit their SAF online by the May 16 deadline.
“As we start our transition to new agricultural policy and support arrangements, the SAF deadline remains one of the most important dates in the Scottish farming calendar and we need farmers and crofters to crack on with applications.”
Farmers who have issues affecting their browser, accessing the SAF site, or account problems can contact the government’s IT service desk on 0131 244 6202.
However, any questions in relation to SAF2022 guidance should be directed to local Agriculture and Rural Economy (ARE) offices during office hours.
Farmers and crofters can also speak online about SAF to a member of the government’s staff over its web chat facility.