Connecting Retiring and Beginning Farmers Online

USDA has created a new tool so that landowners and beginners interested in the Conservation Reserve Program Transition Incentives Program can find each other.

The Conservation Reserve Program Transition Incentives Program (CRP TIP) provides up to two additional Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) annual rental payments to a retired or retiring landowner or operator with an expiring CRP contract.

To qualify, the landowner must sell or lease the CRP land to a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher so the new operator can convert some or all of the land to production using sustainable grazing or crop production methods. The new farmer or rancher is required to operate under a conservation plan approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The program has taken off remarkably well with good participation levels, but how to effectively connect beginners with landowners who have land in CRP has been a lurking question. Most local folks have an idea who owns CRP land around their community. But that’s not always the case, and it’s increasingly challenging if you are looking for land outside your local area.

To aid in that process, US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced TIP Net, the new online tool. It will link retiring farmers with expiring CRP contracts to beginning farmers or ranchers who are interested in bringing the land into production.

The TIP Net website is provided by the Farm Service Agency. Through the Transition Incentives Program, producers with land for sale or lease are introduced to qualified beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers who want to buy or rent land for their operations. You can access TIP Net through FSA’s website, http://www.fsa.usda.gov.

The online tool works like this:

  • All users who want to post an ad online must complete a one-time registration process. (If you only want to view ads from beginning farmers or from retiring farmers, you don’t need to register).
  • To register, create an account through an eAuthentication link. You provide a user name, password, name and email address. Just follow the instructions on the website. Be sure to save your username and password. You’ll use it each time to access the website.
  • You will receive an email from eAuthHelpDesk to activate your account. You just click on the link in the email that says ACTIVATE MY ACCOUNT.
  • It will work best if ads are kept current and folks remember to remove ads they no longer need.

CRP TIP has $25 million available to help transition CRP land to beginners and socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers. As of November 30, 2010, there have been 372 contracts on more than 52,000 acres for nearly $5 million in payments.

For more information, contact our Farm Bill Helpline by calling 402.687.2100 or email Traci Bruckner at tracib@cfra.org.

Congratulations, Traci!

Traci Bruckner, Assistant Policy Program Director at the Center for Rural Affairs, is the new chair of the USDA Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. She was elected at the December meeting. The committee has a passionate and powerful advocate for beginning farmers at the helm!