FSA programs explained: Incentives to sell your expiring CRP | TSLN.com

FSA programs explained: Incentives to sell your expiring CRP

At a time when the average age of farmers and ranchers continues to increase, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) has developed an incentive for retired or retiring producers with expiring Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to transition their land to a beginning farmer or a socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher under the Transition Incentives Program (TIP). The incentives come in the form of continued annual rental payments for an additional two years for approved TIP contracts.

CRP contracts expiring on Sept. 30, 2011 are now eligible to be enrolled. In order to qualify, CRP owners must sell or lease (minimum of a 5-year lease) their expiring CRP to a beginning farmer or social disadvantaged farmer or rancher. Producers transitioning their land to a family member are ineligible for incentive payments.

A beginning farmer or rancher is a person or entity who has not been a farm or ranch operator or owner for more than 10 years and materially and substantially participates in the operation of the farm or ranch involved in the CRP contract modification. If the beginning farmer is an entity, 50 percent of the members or stockholders of the entity must meet the definition of a beginning farmer or rancher.

Socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers are determined based upon income and farm sales. Each county has varying income limitations. If you believe that you qualify as a socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher, visit with your local FSA service center or log on to the Limited Resource Farmer and Rancher Online Self Determination Tool at http://www.lrftool.sc.egov.usda.gov.

Farmers and ranchers wanting to participate in TIP are eligible to enroll their expiring CRP in TIP up to one year prior to the expiration of the CRP contract. Expired CRP contracts are ineligible to be enrolled in TIP. TIP contracts must be approved prior to the sale of the land, but must have sold, agreed to sell or leased the ground prior to the expiration of the CRP contract. Beginning farmers or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers must establish a conservation plan with the Natural Resource Conservation Service bringing the land back into sustainable grazing or crop production. Beginning farmers and socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers purchasing or leasing land enrolled in TIP are eligible to enroll the land into a continuous conservation reserve program practice and are not required meet the 12-month owner/operator requirement usually required under CRP.

In addition to establishing the TIP, the FSA has developed a Web site intended to connect retiring farmers looking to take advantage of TIP and beginning farmers and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers looking to purchase expiring CRP and bring that land back into production. The Web site is called TIP Net.

TIP Net allows retiring farmers or ranchers with expiring CRP to post an advertisement of the sale of their CRP. Users will need to establish an account before posting an advertisement. However, if you wish to browse the advertisements, you do not need to establish an account. TIP Net can be accessed via the Internet at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/tipnet.

If you are a retired or retiring farmer/rancher, check out TIP Net for opportunities to sell your CRP with the incentives provided under the Transition Incentive Program. If you are a beginning farmer/rancher, TIP Net could provide you with an opportunity to start or grow your business.

james neill is the county executive director for the farm service agency in meade county, south dakota and can be contacted at james.neill@sd.usda.gov. questions about the transition incentive program or any other program administered by the farm service agency should be directed to your local farm service agency service center.

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