NFU Scotland has welcomed the Scottish Government decision to extend the deadline for Scottish farmers to apply for Europe’s new farm support scheme by one month.
The decision follows an announcement in March, when European Farm Commissioner Phil Hogan recognised difficulties experienced in introducing new Common Agricultural Policy schemes. Mr Hogan indicated that competent authorities could extend the Single Application Form (SAF) deadline, set for May 15, by up to one month.
In discussions with Scottish Government this week, NFU Scotland indicated it would support making use of the extension and welcomed news that the deadline for submitting SAF forms will now shift to June 15.
Given ongoing difficulties being experienced by those accessing the new computerised application system, the Union believes the extension will allow more time for the forms to be completed electronically online. NFUS agrees that online submissions are the preferred method of application and applicants should start the application process at the earliest opportunity. The Union is adamant that regardless of the extension to the application period, farmers must crack on with completing these crucial forms.
NFU Scotland Chief Executive Scott Walker said: “With exactly a month to go until the original deadline date of May 15, it was clear from the calls and emails that we had received that some members were having difficulties using the new online application system and that a deadline extension made sense.”