FUW welcomes launch of online SAF/IACS service

The Farmers’ Union of Wales welcomed the Welsh Government’s launch of its online IACS/SAF completion and submission system, describing it as a positive step forward which will reduce errors and allow more time to complete forms before the all-important May 15 deadline.

Under EU rules, Single Application Form (SAF) and Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) data must be completed and submitted by May 15 each year, with failure to meet this deadline or errors in the data submitted resulting in draconian penalties.

“This year, for the first time, farmers will be able to complete and submit their forms online, with the online system being made available around a month earlier than the paper forms,” said FUW president Emyr Jones.

“Obviously problems such as poor broadband coverage in some areas mean that the system will not be suitable for all, but the launch of the online system will reduce the workload for many farmers as well as FUW offices which help members with their forms.”

The FUW assists around 3,000 members with the completion of their forms each year ahead of the May 15 deadline.

“The online system also means there is a reduced risk of mistakes since a great deal of information will be provided instantly, such as comparisons between areas and the numbers of field parcels claimed upon in 2014 and 2013, and instant confirmation that the form has been submitted,” said Mr Jones.

However, he advised farmers to ensure that they carefully follow the guidance on using the online system.

Online submission should also mean that data is processed more quickly by the Welsh Government since the form will not have to be scanned and interpreted before being entered onto the system, added Mr Jones.

“We would advise members interested in using the service to contact their FUW County Offices for further details, particularly those who wish to get their forms submitted ahead of the main lambing season.”

Natural resources and food minister Alun Davies has indicated that by 2016 he wants all IACS/SAF forms to be completed online, but the FUW has made it clear that farmers should retain the option to complete paper forms – not least because of issues of discrimination and problems with broadband coverage.

“However, we need to be realistic about the advantages of RPW Online for those who are in a position to make the most of the service, particularly in terms of spotting basic mistakes, monitoring the processing of claims and changes, and ensuring that correct information has been submitted and accepted by Rural Payments Wales,” Mr Jones added.

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