By John Crabtree
Millions of acres have and will come out of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) between 2008 and 2012. That is why the Center for Rural Affairs fought so hard to establish the Transition Incentive Program (TIP) in the 2008 Farm Bill.
Under TIP, landowners who are retiring and whose CRP contract is ending can receive two years of additional CRP rental payments after the contract expires for land that is transferred to a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher who will use sustainable or organic grazing, crop production or mixed cropping-grazing systems to bring the land into production. The land may be sold or under contract to be sold to the beginning or minority farmer or rancher, or may be leased under a long-term lease agreement of at least 5 years.
This program is an attractive option for landowners who are looking for a way to help another generation of family farmers and ranchers get their start. Moreover, we will likely never see another opportunity like this - where so much land and so many CRP contracts expire in such a short period - to help these farmers and ranchers access the land they need to get started.
Landowners looking to help such a farmer or rancher should begin by contacting the Center for Rural Affairs' Farm Bill Helpline, which was established to assist farmers and ranchers in accessing USDA farm, conservation and related programs, at 402-687-2100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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