Farmers told: apply now for next year's cash

Scotland's farmers may still be waiting for their support cash for last year but they have been encouraged by NFU Scotland to fill in their single application forms (SAF) for the current one.

NFUS policy director Jonnie Hall. Picture: Contributed

Last year’s application process saw farmers left confused and frustrated with the computer new system not able to cope with processing the thousands of applications. Because of the high level of confusion, the union achieved an extension to the closing deadline.

In order to avoid any similar problems this year, the union has been liaising with the Scottish Government to ensure an improvement to the system so that it can cope before the application window closes on 16 May.

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Last year, the European Commission granted an extension for application but a similar concession is very unlikely this time around.

Speaking yesterday, Jonnie Hall, NFU Scotland’s director of policy said: “While it is early days, it seems that the IT system is coping better this time around than it did in 2015. A number of applications have already been successfully submitted, and many more are already on the system in draft.

“That said, it is also clear that we have not reached the time of peak flow – and that will be the acid test.”