Stewart Johnston of Galbraith, who is former head of the Scottish Government’s Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate for Grampian, said:
Despite all the disruption caused by the Covid-19 restrictions and the ensuing supply chain issues, I would advise farmers not to delay preparing their submission for the SAF as this will help ensure a straightforward payment.
Consideration should be given to their Ecological Focus Areas, growing eligible crops for BPS and fulfilling entitlement usage requirements.
Given the early spring, arable farmers should have their cropping plans in place, so they can work on their SAF to confirm they have met the scheme requirements.
Prompt action ensures farmers still have time to source and check up to date FIS maps, check the finer details of their letting arrangements, contract farming and AECS management agreements. If your SAF is correct, your payment will come through more quickly.
Galbraith advises that a professional and thorough SAF submission now will free farmers from SGRPID queries and reduce the likelihood of an inspection.
SAFs are required to claim for subsidy under:
- Basic Payment Scheme (BPS)
- Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme (SSBSS)
- Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme (SUSSS)
- Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS)
- Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) – annual recurrent options
- Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS) – annual maintenance and management grants
- Beef Efficiency Scheme (BES)
- Rural Development Contracts – Rural Priorities (RDC-RP) annual recurrent options
The online system is the preferred route for submissions. The team at Galbraith have the expertise and the systems in place to assist with use of this tool.