The NFU has issued some last-minute tips for farmers as the 15 May deadline for single farm payment applications approaches.

Richard Wordsworth, Single Payment Scheme adviser for the NFU, said that the deadline was now just days away, and unlike previous years, would not move.

The key message for farmers was not to leave the form until the last minute, as some were just discovering they didn’t even have a form, he said.

“Many seem to have only just opened the envelopes and discovered fields missing and now do not have enough lines to enter on all the fields and any temporary field splits they have on the 2007 SP5 form,” he added.

“Whilst the RPA can send out another pre-populated form or supplementary Part C booklet (field data sheets), this is now not likely to be received until after the 15th May deadline.  If claimants need a form or need additional supplementary booklets containing Part C, they may need to drive to an RPA drop in centre and pick up the required documents.      

“The forms are not available on the RPA website and remember the RPA will not accept photocopies or computer generated forms – only originals will be accepted.”

Mr Wordsworth said claimants needed to go through the form carefully and remember things like sketch maps, non-food crop and energy contracts.

All documents submitted should be marked with the SBI number and claimant’s name – using the sticky label if available.

Producers should remember to record when the application was sent/delivered and also record in the diary when an acknowledgment postcard should have been received by.

Farmers do have the option of delivering the form personally to a drop in centre and the RPA has confirmed that they will be open this weekend between the hours of 8.30am and 3.00pm.

If you are still working on your form and have a query you want answering, why not put it to one of our experts on the forums.

Alternatively, you can find out how deputy news editor Isabel Davies got on with her family’s form on the Food For Thought blog.