By Rhea Landholm
A federal program created by the 2008 Farm Bill is a win-win for retired and retiring landowners, and beginning, socially-disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and ranchers.
Center for Rural Affairs staff members recently conducted a report on the implementation of Conservation Reserve Program – Transition Incentives Program (CRP-TIP) in Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. This program is available nationwide, administered by U.S. Department of Agriculture – Farm Service Agency (FSA).
Retired or retiring landowner with land enrolled in CRP can receive two additional years of payments if land is transitioned back into production. The land must be sold or leased to a beginning, socially-disadvantaged, or veteran farmer or rancher.
Factors affecting program participation include:
Relationships. An interested landowner often has difficulty finding a farmer or rancher to work with in enrolling in CRP-TIP, and vice versa.
Agricultural economy. Falling commodity prices and CRP re-enrollment rates impact landowners’ decisions to enroll in a CRP-TIP contract. The high cost of starting a farm or ranch was a reported barrier for many beginning farmers.
Knowledge of the program. FSA staff with more knowledge of the program conduct multiple forms of outreach resulting in higher participation in certain counties.
Quality and character of the land. FSA county officers reported land that is more readily convertible to commodity production was more commonly enrolled.
In the focus states, the most common farmer and rancher participant group was beginning farmers.
The full report, “Pathways to Land Access,” is available at www.cfra.org/Pathways-to-Land-