Last week saw the final series of the CLA roadshows on the agricultural transition in England. The roadshow comprised 19 separate events across all of the CLA regions in England, from Cornwall to Kent and Cumbria to Durham and many counties in between.
More than 800 members attended the CLA’s events to hear the latest developments in agricultural policy, along with a run through of the key information members need to be aware of in 2023. This includes modelling work carried out by the CLA with the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board, looking at the Environmental Land Management (ELM) offer for 2023. We were joined by various event sponsors, including Ceres Rural, Riccardo/Andersons, GSC Grays, Defra, the Rural Payments Agency and the Forestry Commission.
Attendees were given the opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns with speakers regarding the most significant changes in agricultural policy for generations.
CLA members felt that there is a lot of information to take in, and determining which new schemes to focus on is no easy task. Members noted that Defra’s presentation of information online makes things more difficult for them.
There was some optimism, particularly with regards to new actions and payments that are due to be added to the Sustainable Farming Incentive, later in 2023.
Members were eager to learn more about the reformed, less punitive approach to scheme administration, which is being embraced by the Rural Payment Agency (RPA). There was a sense that it will take time for the RPA to develop a more favourable reputation, and that the proof will be in the pudding. The CLA is hosting a webinar with the RPA on 24 May at 6pm to find out more about its new approach. There will also be the opportunity to ask the RPA questions. To sign up for this free webinar, click here.
CLA members attending the roadshow events were made aware of the free, government-funded advice that is being made available in the early years of the agricultural transition. Members also benefited from presentations on the kinds of support available. The CLA would urge any members in receipt of the Basic Payment Scheme to access the free support, which can include farm business analysis, benchmarking as well as carbon and environmental audits. A list of the providers is available here.
Attendees found simplified scheme printouts produced by the CLA to be particularly useful. These are available to download on the agricultural transition hub on the CLA website.