New Farmer Fly-In

Anna Jones-Crabtree commented that, “As beginning farmers, Doug and I could have benefited greatly if the CRP Transition Option had been in place when we were purchasing our farm last year.” If you need information about beginning farmer programs visit our website: www.cfra.org.

In March, Doug Crabtree and Anna Jones-Crabtree traveled from Helena, Montana, to Washington D.C. to participate in a “New Farmer Fly-In.”

New farmers and ranchers from eight states went to discuss beginning farmer and rancher credit and conservation issues with USDA and Congress. The fly-in was spearheaded by the Center for Rural Affairs, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and several other organizations.

“The 2008 farm bill created opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers in a number of conservation programs – like the CRP transition option, EQIP and the Conservation Stewardship Program. And we want to make sure those victories for beginners are as effective in practice as was intended when the farm bill passed,” said Doug Crabtree.

Doug Crabtree traveled from Helena, Montana, to Washington D.C. to participate in a “New Farmer Fly-In.” New farmers and ranchers from eight states went to discuss beginning farmer and rancher credit and conservation issues with USDA and Congress. The Fly-In was spearheaded by the Center for Rural Affairs, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and several other organizations.

Some beginning farmer provisions have yet to be implemented. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Transition Option, a new federal program that gives up to two years additional CRP payments to landowners who transfer land to a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher, is caught up in USDA implementation and rulemaking. The program is designed to help transition land to new farmers and ranchers who return it to production using sustainable grazing or crop production methods.

“As beginning farmers, Doug and I could have benefited greatly if the CRP Transition Option had been in place when we were purchasing our farm last year. That was one of the reasons we wanted to travel to Washington. We don’t want other beginning farmers and ranchers to miss out on this opportunity,” explained Anna, who farms with Doug north of Havre, Montana.

Afterward, Doug and Anna attended the “Drake Forum on America’s New Farmers: Policy Innovations and Opportunities,” sponsored by Drake University. More than 200 people from 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada participated in the forum to identify innovative policies and projects at the federal, state and local levels to support new and beginning farmers.

Contact: Traci Bruckner, tracib@cfra.org or 402.687.2103 x 1016 for more details.