New Take on Old Program Assists Beginners

The 2008 Farm Bill includes several provisions to assist a new generation of farmers and ranchers. One of those is the Conservation Reserve Program Farm Transition Incentive. This will provide landowners with an expiring CRP contract an incentive to transition that land to a beginner willing to bring that land back into production using sustainable grazing or crop production methods.
The beginning farmer or rancher and the contract holder will work together to make conservation and land improvements starting the year before the contract expires. The beginner will be allowed and encouraged to start the organic certification process for the land as well. 
 
Once the landowners' Conservation Reserve Program contract is expired, they must sell or lease that land to the beginner. They will receive two additional annual payments in return for transitioning the land to a beginner.
 
The beginning farmer or rancher must have an approved conservation plan for the land and agree to implement that plan. One key component of this provision is that it allows the beginner the opportunity to enroll that land in the Conservation Stewardship Program or the Environmental Quality Incentives Program when they take possession of the land. 
 
Considering the current dynamics of the agriculture economy, where high-priced commodities encourage production on more acres, an incentive such as this could not be timelier. This provision will achieve two goals simultaneously: 1) help beginners gain access to land, a crucial resource; and 2) ensure the conservation of that land as well. 

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