By Gordon Davidson

Scottish farmers and crofters have been urged to complete their important Single Application Form ahead of the May 17 deadline.

NFU Scotland this week sounded the alarm as it became apparent that the number of eligible applicants who have already completed their forms is lower than at this time last year.

Latest figures from Scottish Government suggest that, as of Sunday May 9, the number of SAFs submitted was 20 per cent down on the same date in 2020. ScotGov also indicated that half of the SAF forms submitted are still in a ‘draft’ state so, although commenced, have yet to be completed.

The figures suggest that almost 4,000 SAFs have still to be started, raising the potential for a high number being submitted at the last minute, which in turn has the potential to put considerable pressure on the system.

Completion of a SAF is a prerequisite to accessing important support schemes such as the Basic Payment Scheme and Greening, and the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme. It is vital for checks under the likes of the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme and the Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme. Cumulatively, these schemes inject well over £500 million into the Scottish agricultural industry annually. With only a few days left to submit these vital forms, NFUS welcomed the news that ScotGov has organised out of hours cover for this coming weekend – May 15 and 16 – and after office hours cover on Monday May 17 until midnight.

Union president Martin Kennedy said: “With less than a week to go, the number of SAF forms still to be started is worrying given how important these support streams are to Scottish agriculture. Concern has also been raised about the number of forms started but not completed."

For in-depth news and views on Scottish agriculture, see Friday’s issue of The Scottish Farmer or visit