Farmers can now apply for the single farm payment online.

The Rural Payments Agency will be accepting electronic submission of forms via the Government Gateway in 2008.

Farmers wanting to submit their forms electronically can chose from two software packages, including one from Farmplan, which is owned by the Farmers Weekly Group.

“Farmplan is one of only two suppliers working with RPA to enhance existing software to enable customers to submit their SP5 Single Payment Scheme application electronically for the 2008 scheme year,” said Hugh Taylor, RPA chief operating officer.

“To ensure the smooth running of the process, a limited number of online submission licences is being made available for the first year, 2008,” he added.

The Farmplan SFP Planner software, which helps users identify land use codes and calculates eligible area and area claimed for protein, energy, nuts and hill farming allowance, now enables users to submit their forms online and obtain an immediate submission receipt.

This means that, for forms submitted before the deadline, the user can be confident RPA has received them on time.

“This new enhancement will be a valuable addition for many farms. Claimants could significantly reduce their workload using this electronic channel,” said Neil Unitt, managing director of Farmplan.