THE DEADLINE for applications to the national reserve in Scotland has been extended until May 16. The same cut-off date will applyfor anyone who wants to challenge their single farm payment entitlement.

 But, although the Scottish Executive has extended the deadlines, NFU Scotland”s policy director Scott Walker has urged farmers to act promptly.

“Don”t waste time,” said Mr Walker. “If farmers are is sitting on a potential national reserve application or a challenge to their SFP, they should act immediately.”

 Originally, the deadline for applications to most of the national reserve categories was Mar 14, with challenges to SFP entitlement due by Mar 31. But, with just over 1000 farmers having applied to the national reserve by Mar 14, and less than 15% of those involved in agri-environment schemes during the SFP reference period having challenged their entitlement, the decision to extend the deadlines was taken.

While welcoming the extra time offered by the Scottish Executive, Mr Walker repeated that the union”s advice remained unchanged. “If you need either to challenge your estimated SFP or apply to the national reserve, do it today,” he said.