SAF Submissions Down On 2021 With One Week To Go

Scottish farmers and crofters urged to complete online forms ahead of 16 May deadline

The number of Scottish farmers and crofters who have filled out their Single Application Form (SAF) ahead of the window closing at midnight on Monday 16 May is lower than at this time last year.

Latest figures provided to NFU Scotland by Scottish Government suggest that, as of week ending 6 May, more than 3500 forms had yet to be started.

The number of SAFs completed, at 9200, was more than 500 fewer than at the same date in 2021.  Scottish Government also indicated that 4600 SAF forms were in a ‘draft’ state so, although commenced, have yet to be completed.

This year, for the first time, all SAF forms must be completed online.  The large number of forms yet to be started or completed raises concerns of a last-minute rush to submit forms over the coming weekend.

Completion of a SAF is required to access important support schemes such as the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Greening, and the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme.  All schemes available as part of SAF are critical to the financial well-being of Scottish agriculture – injecting well over £500 million to the industry annually.

With only a few days left, NFU Scotland has welcomed the news that Scottish Government has organised out of hours cover for IT related issues this weekend (14/15 May) and after office hours cover on Monday 16 May until midnight.

Customers having issues affecting their browser, accessing the SAF site or account problems can contact the 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 ARE Area Office staff over its web chat facility.

NFU Scotland Director of Policy Jonnie Hall said: “Support payments remain critically important to the viability of most Scottish farming and crofting businesses.  The importance of that support will be underlined this year and into next year as we see unprecedented rises in input costs and unpredictable volatility in prices.
“That is why it is so worrying that, with exactly a week to go, there is a significant number of SAF forms still to be started.  There is also concern 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.
“Farmers and crofters must prioritise these annual application forms in the next few days.  The deadline of the 16 May is fast approaching, and we urge all eligible applicants to concentrate on completing their submission now rather than at the last minute.
“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 ARE office.  It’s vital that they do this as soon as possible so that they can submit their SAF online by the 16 May 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.”

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