Scottish Government Viewpoint
THE Single Application Form (SAF) allows the Scottish Government's Rural Payments and Inspections Division (RPID) to administer Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) support.
It is the form that farmers and crofters must submit to claim payments under a number of different schemes.
With the window for SAF 2018 digital application process opening on Thursday, the Scottish Government is encouraging farmers and crofters to submit their SAF application online because the SAF digital application process is straightforward, more efficient and provides access to the most up-to-date land information.
The process also reduces the risk of inadvertently making application errors and incurring penalties; and the Scottish Government is offering farmers and crofters applying under the SAF in 2018 more support to help them make the switch to apply online.
Farmers and crofters can access the SAF at www.ruralpayments.org from Thursday.
Donald Brown is a manager of a firm in Perthshire and explained the benefits of applying online.
He said: "Although the broadband speed in my area can be temperamental and isn't always the quickest, I always submit my Single Application Form online and have had no problems opening up my SAF, populating it, saving my information and logging out again.
"I like the fact that with the online SAF you can start the application as soon as the window opens in March and save it, without necessarily having to populate all land details at that point.
"This functionality allows me to go back into my draft application when it suits me and update it with land details as crops are established in spring.
"I like the fact that the system gives you immediate feedback on whether you're complying with the likes of Greening requirements and also provides assurance that area totals are correct.
"I believe those online checks and assurances are a huge benefit compared to the paper SAF experience, where bad handwriting and also manual calculations can cause errors unwittingly.
"I also like being able to print off my SAF when it's completed and submitted and to have the comfort of an instant timed and dated receipt as evidence that my SAF has been successfully submitted.
"I personally see no downsides, only benefits, in submitting your SAF online."