Starting gun fired on Single Application forms

Farmers and crofters reminded that it is business as usual on CAP schemes

With the Single Application Form (SAF) window now open (Sunday 15 March), NFU Scotland is encouraging crofters and farmers to prioritise filling out their forms online before the 15 May deadline. 

The current uncertainty in the country around the impact of coronavirus and future trade arrangements, combined with the pressures of spring work, lambing and calving, means that many farmers and crofters will have many other things on their mind at this busy time of year. 

The Union is urging applicants to crack on and start filling out their SAF as soon as possible and reminding them that, as things stand, it is business as usual for all CAP schemes.  The online application process has been significantly improved in recent years and the clear majority of applications are now made online. By submitting your application online, the system will flag any errors before submitting your application. 

In line with recent years, paper forms will not be automatically posted out and must instead be requested from Local Area Offices.   Individuals can also book appointments with their Local Area Office where staff will be on hand to assist those completing their form online. Scottish Government will be moving to an online only system from 2022. 

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “The headlines are currently dominated by confusion and uncertainty, but 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.

“The SAF window will run from 15 March to 15 May and we don’t want anyone to inadvertently be distracted from this important process.

“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 15 May deadline.

“A change to online from paper application has real benefits for those who are able to, as it checks for errors throughout the process which allows speedier processing for this vital support. Scottish Government will be moving to an online only system from 2022. 

“Going online is worth the effort and you will receive an acknowledgement of receipt at the time of submission. Local Area Offices offer valuable support and farmers and crofters should consider booking an appointment where staff can assist them in completing their SAF online. 

“The important thing is to take plenty of time and not leave it to the last minute. Remember, it is the most important day’s work in any farmer’s year.”

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.