Farmers, crofters and land managers are being urged to submit their Single Application Form (SAF) online this year.
The 2018 SAF window, where applicants submit claims for support under the Common Agricultural Policy’s (CAP) Pillar 1 and 2 schemes, is now open and runs until midnight on May 15.
Rural Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “I would encourage everyone who wishes to do so to submit their Single Application Form online as soon as possible and not wait until the last moment.
“Although we will still accept paper applications, the online system is specifically designed to simplify the process by automatically checking applications for errors – reducing the risk of financial penalties. Indeed, more than three-quarters of farmers and crofters benefited from submitting their SAF online last year, allowing for their application to be validated straightaway.
“Support is being offered to farmers, crofters and land managers who wish to make the switch to applying online – a move I would encourage everyone to consider.”
NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said: “The Single Application Forms are the most important forms that Scottish farmers will fill out this year, and I would like to encourage all of our members to complete their forms as soon as possible.
“A change to online from paper application has real benefits for those who can do it as it is doing checks throughout the process which will allow speedier processing for this essential support. It’s worth the effort and you will get an acknowledgement of receipt at the time of submission.
“The important thing is to actually do it in plenty of time. Remember, it is the most important day’s work in any farmer’s year.”