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Farmers urged to get their Single Application Form handed in

With the Single Application Form (SAF) window having opened today, the farmers union in Scotland, NFU Scotland, is encouraging crofters and farmers to prioritise filling out their forms online before the May 15 deadline.

A combination of Brexit uncertainty, spring work, lambing and calving means that many farmers and crofters will have many other things occupying their minds at this busy time of year. At this busy time of year, the union is urging applicants to start filling out their SAF and is reminding them that, as things stand, it’s business as usual for all CAP schemes.

The union has also said the online application process has seen significant improvements 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.

Paper forms will not be automatically posted out and must instead be requested from Local Area Offices. Individuals can also go to their Local Area Office where staff will be on hand to assist those completing their form online.

NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said: “Brexit chaos and confusion are dominating the headlines and generating uncertainty. 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, which will run from 15 March to 15 May, will be punctured by Brexit headlines but we don’t want anyone to inadvertently be distracted from this important process. SAF forms are the most important forms that Scottish farmers fill out every year and I would encourage all members to begin working on their forms as soon as possible to ensure they meet the 15 May deadline.

“For the second year, paper forms will not be automatically sent out by post, with the Scottish Government continuing to encourage claimants to complete their SAF online. Whether you are happy to switch to online or are sticking to paper, 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.”

• Online applications can be submitted via the Scottish Government’s rural payments and services website, at www.ruralpayments.org.

A paper copy of the Single Application Form can be picked up at the Scottish Government’s office, in the Government Buildings, on Junction Road, Kirkwall. Paper forms can be handed there, or sent to: Scottish Government, Agriculture and Rural Economy, Government Buildings, Tankerness Lane, Kirkwall, KW15 1AQ.