Expiring CRP Contracts Eligible for the Transition Incentives Program -Help a Beginning, Veteran or Socially Disadvantaged Farmer

By: David Marrison, OSU Extension Educator-Coshocton County

Are you a landowner that has land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)?  Does your CRP expire in the next year? Would you like to help a beginning, veteran, or socially disadvantaged farmer get a head start in farming and in return receive an incentive to do so?  If so, you may be interested in the CRP Transition Incentives Program available through the Farm Service Agency.

What is the Conservation Reserve Program?

The Conservation Reserve Program was authorized by the Food Security Act of 1985 and was reauthorized by the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. The goal of CRP is to voluntarily contract with agricultural producers to not farm environmentally-sensitive land but instead utilize it for conservation benefits.

CRP participants plant long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”) to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat. In return, participants receive rental payments and cost-share assistance as well as are eligible for climate-smart practice incentives. The contract duration is between 10 and 15 years.  The CRP suite of programs include General CRP, Continuous CRP, Grassland CRP, Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), Clean Lakes, Estuaries, and Rivers Initiative (CLEAR30) and State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE). CRP protects more than 20 million acres of American farmland.

What is the Transition Incentives Program (TIP)?

The Transition Incentives Program (TIP) was authorized under 2018 Farm Bill to encourage the voluntary transition of land enrolled under an expiring CRP contract to a veteran, beginning, or socially disadvantaged (SDA) farmer who will return the land to sustainable grazing or crop production. The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) authorized $50 million for TIP for the fiscal years 2019 through 2023.

TIP provides landowners and operators with an incentive to return land to production on an expiring CRP Contract in a way that preserves established conservation practices. It also provides an opportunity for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to purchase their own land or rent land.

Table 1: Definitions of Farm Operator for the Transition Incentives Program

Type of Farm Operator Means a person, or for entities has at least 50 percent interest in that entity, who:
Beginning Farmer Has not been a farm or ranch operator for more than 10 years
Veteran Farmer or Rancher Has served in the Armed Forces and who has:

• Obtained status as a veteran during the most recent 10-year period, or

• Operated a farm or ranch for no more than 10 years.

Socially Disadvantaged Farmer Is a member of a socially disadvantaged group whose members have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities. Gender is not included.

TIP provides landowners or operators with up to two additional annual rental payments on existing CRP land which is set to expire, on the condition they sell or rent this land to a beginning farmer, veteran or to a socially disadvantaged group who is not a family member. The new landowners or renters must return the land to production using sustainable grazing or farming methods. Key provisions of TIP include:

  • Beginning, veteran, and SDA farmers and CRP participants may enroll two years before the scheduled date of CRP contract expiration, or until the $50 million limit is reached.
  • Only land enrolled in an expiring CRP contract is eligible. TIP enrollment is on a continuous basis.
  • The owner or operator must agree to sell, or have a contract to sell, or agree to lease long-term (at least 5 years) the land enrolled in an expiring CRP contract to a beginning, veteran, or SDA farmer who is not a family member.
  • Owner or operator must agree to permit the beginning, veteran, or SDA farmer to make conservation and land improvements according to an approved conservation plan.
  • Beginning, veteran, or SDA farmers participating in TIP may re-enroll eligible land under CRP.
  • Beginning, veteran, or SDA farmers must materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm involved in CRP contract modification.

More information:

More information about the Conservation Reserve Program Transition Incentives Program can also be found at:

https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/conservation-programs/transition-incentives/index

If you are interested in learning more about this or other Farm Service Agency programs, contact your local FSA office.  Not sure which FSA serves your county?  Use this link: https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=oh&agency=fsa  to locate your nearest FSA office.

Resources

Conservation Reserve Program- Transition Incentives Program.  Accessible at: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Assets/USDA-FSA-Public/usdafiles/FactSheets/2019/crp_transition_incentive_program-fact_sheet.pdf

Conservation Reserve Program-Overview. Accessible at:

https://www.fsa.usda.gov/Assets/USDA-FSA-Public/usdafiles/FactSheets/2019/conservation-reserve_program-fact_sheet.pdf

About the Conservation Reserve Program.  Accessible at:

https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/conservation-programs/conservation-reserve-program/index

OSU Extension is thankful the support of USDA through the Outreach Education and Technical Assistance for Farm Service Agency Programs grant.

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