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NFUS Vents Frustration at New Online SAF System

NFU Scotland has welcomed an indication by Commissioner Hogan that he is considering offering greater flexibility in relation to the timescale for Single Application Form (SAF) deadline, as members express their frustrations at using the new system.

If delivered, this extension could offer a lifeline to farmers and their advisers who are struggling to cope with this new application process.

NFUS urges the Scottish and UK governments to secure an extension to the deadline for completing SAF applications as Commissioner Hogan’s decision on this will be made in the next couple of weeks.   

Presently applications must be completed and received by May 15, 2015.   

Whether farmers intend to complete their SAF online or on paper they must register for the Rural Payments and Services system and make sure that all their details are up to date and correct.   NFUS urges all members to complete this registration process now.

NFU Scotland President, Allan Bowie commented:

“The introduction of the new direct support system in Scotland is proving to be very difficult and what’s being delivered is not what the industry was promised.  Lack of detail on some greening measures, the rolling back of transition to cushion the change to the new system and concern over the effectiveness of the activity measures  in ensuring that land which is not farmed is excluded has left our members frustrated and angry.

“For those who have used the system they feel it is difficult and hugely frustrating, particularly with such a large sum of money invested into it and you would expect it to be easy to use and user friendly.

 “The real test for the system will be in the coming weeks as farmers complete their SAF application. Talks in Europe about extending the deadline for SAF applications is welcomed and is much-needed as applications are taking much longer to do this year.

“The majority of SAF applications will be completed by farm advisors.   These advisors are finding the system is not as easy to use as has been the case in the past and for farmers themselves, some of the functionality you would expect of such a system, simply isn’t there yet.   With the SAF application window coinciding with the application window for key elements of the rural development scheme farm advisors are toiling and something will have to give.

“We once described the CAP system as being designed to fit a computer programme rather than the needs of the industry.  We would have expected that with more than £100M spent that the computer programme would have been much easier to use but instead it is famers who are the ones who will suffer as they toil away to submit their applications on time.”

Ends

Contact Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4108
 

Date Published:

News Article No.: 49/15


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