Spring is in the air and it’s that time of year again: Thursday 15 May is the last date for Scottish farmers to submit the annual Single Application Form (SAF) without being hit by financial penalties.
The form lets the Scottish government’s Rural Payments and Inspections Division (RPID) pay out CAP support schemes.
RPID’s chief agricultural officer Drew Sloan tells Farmers Weekly how to get ahead with claims for 2014.
Your Single Application Form
Farmers should have received the SAF or a letter in March saying the form is available on Rural Payments Online (RPO).
You must use this to claim for your Single Farm Payment (SFP), Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS), Land Managers Options (LMO), and Rural Development Contracts – Rural Priorities (RDC-RP) annual recurrent options. A form is also needed for the Scottish Beef Scheme (SBS).
About 60% of customers already submit SAFs electronically on Rural Payments Online (RPO) and I’d encourage all farmers to sign up to the online service.
It is easy, and once you start to use it you will reap the many benefits of the service including reduced risk of mistakes, 24-hour access and an instant receipt.
To pre-register simply go to www.ruralpaymentsonline.com.
Categorise grazing land
Scotland is moving to an area-based Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) from 2015.
This means the country’s BPS budget will be divided by the number of eligible hectares to give each producer an entitlement per hectare payment rate.
Top tips on completing your Single Application Form 2014
- Review the information carefully before submitting the SAF – don’t simply rely on the figures in the pre-populated form, as last year’s data may no longer be up to date.
- If you have received a new map this year, make sure your entries on the data sheet are correct.
- Ensure you claim only eligible land for SFP and/or LFASS. If you have received a new map since last year this will provide the most accurate maximum land parcel sizes to allow you to decide how much to claim as eligible.
- Categorise your grazing land correctly – this year’s land parcel data sheets will be used to calculate entitlements for the new area-based Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) from 2015.
- Be aware of eligibility rules of the schemes you claim for. There may be changes from previous years due to options moving fields, map changes or inspections.
- For further advice, please contact your agricultural adviser or local area office:
Since Scotland has a wide range of farming systems and land types, it is important that land is correctly recorded.
Help us to help you by describing grazing land correctly – as either Permanent Grass over five years old (PGRS), temporary grass under five years old (TGRS) or rough grazing (RGR).
Check what land is eligible
It is farmers’ responsibility to ensure they only claim on eligible areas and that permanent ineligible features – like houses and farm buildings, and vegetative cover such as gorse or bracken where there is no grazing available – are excluded from your claim.
If you do not do this, your payments are at risk and you may suffer financial penalties.
It doesn’t matter if you or anyone else has previously claimed the total area of the land parcel without these deductions being made.
You must check eligibility each time you make a claim.
The maps have been updated using aerial photography, Ordnance Survey Mastermap, local knowledge and field visits and inspections.
This review aimed to ensure the maps used to support land payments accurately reflected the position on the ground, which should reduce the risk of claiming for ineligible features.
If you think your map is inaccurate, please familiarise yourself with the mapping rules available online at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/farmingrural/Agriculture/grants/Mappingrequire
If you still have any issues or concerns over your map after this, please contact your area office who will be happy to help explain the mapping rules.