Hill farmers and crofters are being reminded that the deadline for applying to the Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme closes on 30 November.
The scheme (SUSSS), which opened for applications in September, gives direct support to help maintain sheep flocks in farm businesses reliant on poorer quality rough grazing found in Scotland.
Payments for ewe hoggs eligible through SUSSS delivers support that underpins the viability of many hill farming and crofting businesses.
It has an annual budget of £7 million, and payments in sterling will depend on the exchange rate in force at the time.
For both online and postal applications, the deadline is midnight on Monday 30 November.
NFU Scotland says the number of applications received this year is lower than at the same point in 2019, but the rate at which applications are being received is now building.
The union's livestock policy manager John Armour said: “A number of applicants have already submitted their applications online but at busy times of the year, scheme deadlines can often slip the mind.
“Given the importance of this funding stream to hill farmers and crofters, worth around £7m in total, we urge all those who are eligible to crack on with their applications ahead of 30 November.”
What are the requirements to apply?
This scheme gives direct support to help maintain sheep flocks in farm businesses reliant on poorer quality rough grazing found in Scotland’s Basic Payment Region three.
• Eligible animals must be retained on your holding (including away winterings) from 1 December in the year of claim to 31 March in the following year
• It is paid on ewe hoggs born on Scottish holdings which rely on poor quality rough grazing found in Scotland’s Basic Payment Region three (upper limit of 1 ewe hogg per 4 ha)
• The ewe hoggs must be less than 12 months old at the start of the retention period
• Businesses that rely on poor quality rough grazing are defined as those which have: a) 80% or more of their agricultural land in Scotland’s Basic Payment Region three and b) no more than 200 hectares of good quality agricultural land in Scotland’s Basic Payment Region one
• Claims can be made between 1 September and 30 November each year
• You must maintain a flock register and keep it up to date. In addition, you must comply with the Sheep and Goats (Records, Identification and Movement) (Scotland) Order 2009