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Policy Manager's Blog 27 March 2019

As farmers and crofters complete their Single Application Form (SAF), NFU Scotland Policy Manager for CAP Schemes Jenny Brunton sets out her top 10 pointers for SAF 2019.

1. 2019 BPS application window

The 2019 BPS application window opens this week and the application deadline is 15 May, with payments expected to be issued from 1 December.

2. Business as usual with BPS

The SAF window, which runs from 15 March to 15 May, will be punctured by Brexit headlines but don’t be inadvertently distracted from this important process. It is key to remember that BPS will operate for the full 2019 calendar year and that this means there is still a requirement to comply with cross compliance and greening rules for the remainder of this year.  

3. Get online early

The online application process has seen significant improvements in recent years and the clear majority of applications are now made online. A change to online from paper application has real benefits for those who are able to, as it checks for errors throughout the process which allows for speedier processing.

It’s worth the effort and you will get an acknowledgement of receipt at the time of submission. Local Area Offices offer valuable support and farmers and crofters should consider booking an appointment where staff can assist them in completing their SAF online.

4. Paper forms

For the second year, paper forms will not be automatically sent out by post, with the Scottish Government continuing to encourage claimants to complete their SAF online. Paper forms must instead be requested from Local Area Offices.

5. Entitlement and land management

Remember if you are transferring entitlements or land to make any changes you need to do so by 2 April. Also, sort out with others if land is changing hands and who claims.

If you need to amend your land parcels please complete a Land Maintenance Form (PF06) and return it to your local area office before the 15 May.

6. Mapping

Mapping changes have caused significant frustration in the past and Scottish Government has undergone substantial work to update land data through their new mapping system, Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS).

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure maps are correct so check the online maps and if anything needs to be corrected then submit a Land Maintenance Form.

Now that the SAF window is open there should not be changes to online mapping unless you request it.  

7. Guidance

The updated scheme rules and how to apply online or by paper and any supplementary forms for SAF 2019 can be found at Basic Payment Scheme Full Guidance. The only way to understand the rules is to read this guidance.  Also remember to gather any relevant supporting paperwork together to help with the application, for example for the Young Farmer Payment.

8. Greening planning for 2019

Please remember that greening in the form of crop diversification and Ecological Focus Areas (EFA) is an annual consideration, as it is based on arable land area which is at your disposal each year. Have you got your calculations correct?

9. Hedges

With changes to the greening rules last year, many of you used eligible hedges to make up the 5% EFA requirement. An EFA Hedge is:

  • any hedge having a length of at least 20 metres or a length of less than 20 metres where it meets another hedge at each end. Any gap of less than 20 metres is treated as being part of the hedge
  • a GAEC landscape feature and as such has no land cover and is fully eligible for BPS

10. NFUS Here to Help

Finally, don’t forget that NFUS is here to help and assist with any queries you may have. Contact me (Policy Manager for CAP Schemes Jenny Brunton) at jenny.brunton@nfus.org.uk or 0131 472 4000.

Completing your SAF form is the most important day in the year for Scottish farmers and crofters and I would encourage all members to begin working on their forms as soon as possible to ensure they meet the 15 May deadline.


Author: Jenny Brunton

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About The Author

Jenny Brunton

Jenny Brunton joined NFU Scotland in early 2018 as Policy Manager for CAP Schemes and Post Brexit Agricultural Policy. Jenny is responsible for developing policy for both Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 schemes, ensuring the members are represented through NFU Scotland’s policy. Having been raised on her family’s mixed farm, Jenny studied History and Politics at University before travelling abroad, returning to work on a nearby farm in Fife. A keen member of her local Young Farmers Club, Jenny will also be responsible for the Next Generation Working Group and looks forward to engaging with the future leaders in Agriculture.

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