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Tread Carefully to Stay Within Rural Priorities Rules

A number of farmers in Rural Priorities schemes may be facing substantial financial losses as the result of simple administrative errors or poorly provided Scottish Government guidance.

Two distinct Rural Priority issues are causing the problem. The first of these is where farmers have failed to correctly fill out their 2011 SAF/IACS form, which is required for annual recurrent claims, resulting in either a reduced payment or no payment at all for their Rural Priority measures.

The second is where a penalty has been applied to Rural Priorities contracts that contain open grazed grassland and wet grassland for wildlife options on areas that, due to changes in guidance, are now deemed ineligible for payment.

NFU Scotland has already taken up cases on behalf of a small number of members and as a result is working with Scottish Government to find a resolution.  The Union is encouraging any other members who may have fallen foul of these aspects of Rural Priorities to get in touch for assistance.

Head of Rural Policy, Jonnie Hall, said:

“It has become apparent that a number of farmers have fallen foul of the rules relating to both of these Rural Priorities issues, and we are looking to build on the examples we already have to take a case to Scottish Government to find a solution. The last thing we want to see is farmers losing out on this much-needed income stream because of either a simple administrative error, or poorly provided guidance.

"Farmers who have a Rural Priorities contract with annual recurrent options that were to be claimed for a payment in 2011, needed to declare the land on which these options were undertaken in their 2011 SAF/IACS form. Not everyone did this, and if they didn’t they must let us know.

"We're also aware of a number of cases where, due to a change in guidance on land eligibility approved Rural Priorities contracts that contain open grazed grassland and wet grassland for wildlife options, may not now be being paid in full.

“The Union has assisted individual members who have fallen foul of these problems but we believe there will be a lot more farmers out there who have not yet been in touch. We strongly encourage those who have been affected to bring their cases to our attention.”

Notes to editors

  • Business Guide Updates on both these issues are available to NFUS members in the members area of our website.

Ends

Contact Wendy Fleming on 0131 472 4020

Date Published:

News Article No.: 154/11


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