Farm support payments arrive ahead of schedule

With more than 95 per cent of Basic Payment Support, Greening and Young Farmer payments totalling almost £400 million already paid out to 17,000 farmers and growers, the Scottish government has this week met its regulatory requirements four months ahead of schedule.

Rural economy secretary, Fergus Ewing said that meeting the payment targets well in advance during a global health pandemic had been a huge achievement - and thanked the dedication of SGRPID staff, many of whom had been working from home.

He also commended Scotland’s farming community for putting in long hours and days throughout lockdown to keep food on the nation’s plates, adding that the Covid pandemic had placed a spotlight on the importance of food supply chains.

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“Now, more than ever, it’s crucial we keep money flowing into our rural communities and keep funding our crofters and farmers,” said Ewing.

“Despite the extraordinary challenges caused by the pandemic, I am delighted that we have delivered more than 95% - almost £400 million - of area based Pillar 1 payments to more than 97% of our eligible farmers and crofters, four months ahead of the 30 June target.

"Our 2020 payment strategy continues on track to deliver the remaining scheme payments as planned.

And with the next SAF application round set to open next week, he called on farmers and crofters to submit their 2021 applications as soon as they possibly could.

“Please don’t leave it to the last minute. The sooner the better.”