With just two weeks left of the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) 2014 application window, more than 8,000 farmers have applied for their 2014 SPS payment online for the first time. Since the SPS 2014 application window opened on 20 February, a total of 45,000 applications have already been made online. Of those who have applied, 8,100 are trying the increasingly popular SPS Online service for the first time. Rural Payments Agency (RPA) Customer Director Justin Chamberlain said: “This is fantastic news and shows just how many of our farmers, land managers and agents see the business benefits of going online. “That nearly a fifth of those who have already applied for their payments are new to the system proves that more and more people are realising now is the time to make the shift and get ready for a new age in EU payments ahead of CAP Reform implementation.““The RPA is one of the leading agencies in delivering online facilities, and has embraced the Government’s Digital by Default agenda with a number of schemes. “These include the highly praised Cattle Tracing System (CTS) Online; popular import recording and checking system PEACH; and SPS Online - now used by the majority of farmers, landowners and agents for SPS applications.“We are committed to achieving improved value for money and working at maximum efficiency and effectiveness. There will be no let-up in the drive to safeguard customer service and performance while delivering the third year of our Five Year Plan.”All SPS applications, whether online or on paper, must reach the RPA by midnight on 15 May to avoid late application penalties. Once the application has been sent, certain changes can be made by writing to or emailing the Agency. These must be received by midnight on 2 June to avoid penalties. Applications and changes can be made until midnight on 9 June, however penalties will be applied. Applications received after 9 June will not be accepted.