Farmers have been warned to look out for an email or letter from ScotGov's Rural Payments department from next Monday (February 22), notifying them of any reduction or exclusion made to their Basic Payment Scheme, Greening, Young Farmer or Less Favoured Area Support Scheme payments.

Farmers and crofters will have only 60 days from receipt of this notification to submit an appeal under the Rural Payment (Appeals) (Scotland) Regulations 2015.

These notifications will only relate to 2020 claims, as any 2015 to 2019 issues have not been addressed in this round, with SGRPID prioritising fixing current problems.

In support of this decision, SGRPID said that issuing 2020 letters first would provide it with the best opportunity to pilot and test its business processes, and help applicants get their SAF 2021 applications right.

However, it added that analysis gathered from both customers and staff, following the distribution of these SAF 2020 letters, will assist on deciding the approach for the distribution of the earlier SAF years 2015-2019.

Speaking from land agents Galbraith in Aberdeen, Stewart Johnston said: “For many people this will be the first time that they have been notified of any reduction made to their payment or any land that has been deemed not eligible.

"They may not have been aware that a reduction had been applied. To make matters worse, 2015 is the key year, as that is the year they established the basis for these entitlements.

“We would advise farmers to consider whether they agree with the basis of the decision that has been made and to act promptly if they wish to make an appeal.”