Alarm Bells Ringing Over Slow SAF Submissions

Scottish farmers and crofters urged to complete important forms ahead of 17 May deadline

The number of Scottish farmers and crofters who have filled out their Single Application Form (SAF) ahead of the window closing at midnight on Monday 17 May is significantly lower than at this time last year.

Latest figures from Scottish Government suggest that, as of Sunday 9 May, the number of SAFs submitted was 20 percent lower than at the same date in 2020.  Scottish Government 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 (approx. 20 percent) have still to be started, raising the potential for a high number being submitted at the last minute which has the potential to put considerable pressure on the system.

Completion of a SAF is required to access important support schemes such as the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) 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.

All these schemes remain critical to the financial well-being of Scottish agriculture – injecting well over £500 million to the industry annually.  

With only a few days left, NFU Scotland has welcomed the news that Scottish Government has organised out of hours cover for this weekend (15/16 May) and after office hours cover on Monday 17 May until midnight.  Customers having issues affecting their browser, accessing the SAF site or account problems can contact the IT service desk on 0131 244 6202.

For the remainder of this week, local SGRPID Area offices can be still contacted within normal working hours (09:00-17:00).  Area Offices are currently operating an answer machine service and farmers and crofters needing assistance are asked to leave their name, contact number and brief details of their query and will be called back as soon as possible.

Farmers and crofters can also speak online about SAF to a member of SGRPID Area Office staff over its new web chat facility.

NFU Scotland 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 and we urge those with forms in a draft state to go on and complete their application at the earliest opportunity and ensure that it is properly submitted.

“Farmers and crofters must prioritise these annual application forms in the next few days.  The deadline of the 17 May is fast approaching, and we urge all eligible applicants to concentrate on completing their submission now rather than at the last minute.

“The SAF deadline is one of the most important dates in the Scottish farming calendar.  Last year, prompt completion of SAF allowed the Scottish Government to open its loan scheme in August with most applicants receiving 95 percent of their BPS funds in September, several weeks ahead of schedule.

“We need farmers and crofters to crack on with applications this year if we are to secure a similar timetable.”     

Notes for editors


Contact Bob Carruth on 07788 927675

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 74/21

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About The Author

Bob Carruth

A dairy farmer’s son, I joined NFU Scotland in 1999 after 13 years as an agricultural journalist. Following spells as a regional manager and policy lead on milk, livestock and animal health and welfare, I became Communications Director in 2008.

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