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Policy round-up March 2021

With the recent Agriculture Bill, Brexit, DEFRA Agricultural Transition Plan and Environmental Land Management scheme, alongside an increasing interest in CSAs and small-scale farming, not to mention lots of upcoming government consultations and that we now have a policy member in the team – we thought it would be useful to update you on all things CSA policy.

Environmental Land Management (ELMS)
**Updated to include Sustainable Farming Incentive expressions of interest**

Defra have released details of the first pilot of the Sustainable Farm Incentive (SFI) scheme which will make up the new approach to supporting English farmers. Disappointingly, only those previously eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme can sign up to be part of the Sustainable Farming Incentive part of ELMS pilot. You have until 11 April to fill in the expression of interest form.

Defra have stated that if you’re not currently in the BPS, you’ll be able to take part in future phases of the pilot. We along with partners continue to campaign for the inclusion of farms under 5-hectares in Defra schemes.

Phase one of a national pilot is coming to an end and expressions of interest will be announced shortly. Defra will continue to design and pilot three elements of the ELM scheme to roll out over the next few years. These are; The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI), Local Nature Recovery (LNR) and Landscape Recovery (LR).

The CSA Network UK continues to represent the views and needs of CSAs and small scale, agroecological farming through submissions to Defra and the Efra Commission. This includes emphasising the need for ELM to drop the 5-hectare farm size limit and ensure that all horticultural farms can access ELM. Also for the need to provide training and support for new entrants and small-scale farmers,  to support farmers transitioning into agroecological farming systems and those that already provide environmental and societal public goods and to recognise the role smaller scale producers play in creating diversity in the landscape.

We co-authored a policy paper published by Sustain which challenges Defra to stick to their commitments of creating a scheme that is accessible for all farms and which also delivers the aspirations of the 25-Year Environment Plan, Carbon Net Zero, and the premise of ‘public money for public goods’ in the Agriculture Act 2020.

Upcoming consultation responses to be aware of:

1. Regulation of genetic technologies 17th March – the regulation of genetic technologies and the technique of ‘gene editing’ in food and farming.

Information on how you can respond to this consultation yourself from Beyond GM. The LWA has produced a helpful guide here.

We have also signed this open letter, to ask our largest UK supermarkets not to stock genetically engineered or gene edited foods.

2. Right to Regenerate: reform of the Right to Contest 13th March – The Government is asking for feedback on its plans to make it easier for communities to buy underused land and derelict buildings for affordable housing and other community spaces. We will respond on increasing land for food production.

3.. Wales Agricultural Bill 26th March – to represent CSAs in Wales, we will respond to this consultation on the legislative framework to support Welsh agriculture.

4. Upcoming consultation this month to look out for on two exit payment schemes as part of the agricultural transition: Delinking and Lump Sum. You can find out more about the two schemes and sign up to be a joint signatory of LWA’s consultation here.

We also submitted a response, supported by some of our members and the Pesticide Action Network UK to the Sustainable Use of Pesticides: Draft National Action Plan.

If you have any questions or think we are missing anything please email Amy at

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