This case study explores how policy structures support agricultural adaptation. Using the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms of 2007–2013, this case study analyses regional implementation in the East Midlands, England. We investigate how the structures of CAP implementation and supporting regional policies might enhance adaptive capacity and resilience building. Methods include a review of the policy, qualitative analysis of policy structures as well as linguistic analysis of policy documents. The case study is an exercise of looking back to look forward—an approach to understand the preconditions for today’s decision-making structures, which have changed tremendously due to Brexit as well as new climate agreements and policies. It provides insights into the starting point of climate adaptation structures for agricultural adaptation decisions that are relevant in the gradual layering of climate change concerns into agricultural reforms after the 2007–2013 reforms of CAP. The article provides insight into (a) what kind of regulatory aspects promote adaptation the agricultural sector (b) if the implementation of the agricultural policy is characterized by adaptive governance as defined in the social-ecological systems and resilience literature. It further examines to what extent such governance arrangements can (c) result in adaptive capacity structures and, finally (d) lead to assumptions on resilience promotion.

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