Expanding access to land for emerging farmers

Feb 09, 2024

By: Farms.com  

In a significant move to support the next generation of farmers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is channeling almost $1.8 million into cooperative agreements with six organizations.  

This funding is directed towards improving outreach and technical assistance for the Conservation Reserve Program-Transition Incentives Program (CRP-TIP), facilitating easier access to agricultural land for beginning, veteran, and socially disadvantaged farmers. 

The initiative underscores the USDA's commitment to keeping agricultural lands productive and ensuring equitable program delivery.  

FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux emphasized the program's role in incentivizing land transfer to support new producers, acknowledging the ongoing challenges in raising program awareness and fostering connections between landowners and land seekers. 

The projects under these partnerships are diverse, ranging from comprehensive assessments of current outreach practices to the establishment of networks that link landowners with potential land seekers. Highlights include: 

  • Victus Puerto Rico, Inc.: Assessing and improving outreach to Hispanic farmers, with a focus on bilingual assistance and strategic recommendations to boost CRP-TIP awareness. 

  • Bean Education and Advocacy Network Foundation, Inc.: Developing a referral-based service to connect landowners and land seekers in Alabama and Mississippi, complemented by informational resources. 

  • Center for Rural Affairs: Aiming to bridge the gap between landowners and land seekers in Iowa and Nebraska, leveraging online platforms to extend the project's reach. 

  • Kansas State University: Enhancing land access in Kansas through educational conferences and a Land-Link program tailored for CRP-TIP eligible participants. 

  • The Widget Business Training Company: Focused on workshops and a registry in Alabama to facilitate future land transfers among potential sellers, lessors, buyers, and lessees. 

  • Trustees of Indiana University: Seeking to deepen understanding of CRP-TIP's impacts and identify participation barriers across 18 states, with a focus on sustainable farming practices. 

The CRP-TIP aims to support sustainable land use transitions, offering financial incentives for landowners to transfer expiring CRP land to eligible non-family members committed to sustainable farming methods. 

This effort is part of a broader USDA strategy to enhance agricultural equity and sustainability, reflecting the President administration's objectives to foster resilient local food systems and support underserved communities in agriculture.