Please note that the Grassroots Guide has not yet been updated to reflect changes made by the 2018 Farm Bill, which was passed and signed into law in December 2018. We are in the process of updating the Guide and expect to publish an updated version in the spring of 2019. In the meantime, please use this guide for basic information about programs and important resources and links for more information, but check with USDA for any relevant program changes made by the 2018 Farm Bill. Also, check out our blog series covering highlights from the new farm bill.
Millions of acres are set to expire from the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in the coming years, creating a unique opportunity for new farmers to access valuable farm and ranchland while conserving critical natural resources. The CRP Transition Incentives Program (CRP-TIP) offers a special incentive of two years of extra CRP rental payments to owners of land that is currently enrolled in CRP but returning to production, who rent or sell their land to beginning, socially disadvantaged or veteran farmers or ranchers who will use sustainable grazing practices, resource-conserving cropping systems, or transition to organic production.
Learn More About CRP-TIP!
One year prior to the termination of a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contract, a CRP owner or operator who is participating in the CRP-TIP option can allow a beginning, socially disadvantaged, or veteran farmer or rancher to begin to make conservation and land improvements and/or begin the organic certification process on the land covered by the CRP contract.
On or near the date that the CRP contract is terminated, the retired or retiring owner or operator must sell, enter into a long-term lease, or lease with an option to purchase, some or all of the land that was covered by CRP to the participating beginning, socially disadvantaged, or veteran farmer or rancher.
The participating farmer must develop and implement a conservation plan on the land that was previously covered by CRP. On the date that the participating farmer takes possession of the land through ownership or lease, they will have the voluntary option to enroll in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) or the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). They will also have the voluntary option of re-enrolling portions of the land into the CRP through the “continuous sign-up” CRP which is for conservation buffer practices such as contour grass strips, riparian buffers, filter strips, living snow fences, or grassed waterways. USDA will continue making payments to the retired or retiring owner or operator for two additional years after the date that the CRP contract terminates.
CRP-TIP is administered through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is responsible for approving TIP conservation plans and for offering the new farmers and ranchers enrollment opportunities in CSP or EQIP.
All eligible CRP landowners or operators and beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and ranchers are eligible to participate in CRP TIP. CRP transition incentive payments, however, cannot be made to the retiring CRP owner or operator if transition of the land is to a family member. But a beginning, socially disadvantaged, or veteran farmer or rancher family member may participate in TIP to receive the conservation benefits and assistance.
Due to the high demand for CRP-TIP, FSA expended all of the funding available for the program under the 2008 Farm Bill in just a few short years, enrolling over 1,700 producers covering more than 275,000 acres of land in 26 states. Demand for the program has been similarly high under the 2014 Farm Bill.
CRP-TIP has been used to:
Read more about how CRP-TIP has helped connect retiring and beginning farmers:
To apply, farmers and CRP landowners should contact their local FSA office.
Requests for participation in the CRP TIP will be taken on a continuous basis at FSA County Offices. In addition, FSA administers TIP NET – a website that helps retired and retiring CRP landowners or operators connect online with beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and ranchers and post when land is available or needed through TIP.
Read about the latest news on CRP-TIP on our blog: Conservation, Energy and Environment Blog Posts.
Congress created CRP-TIP in the 2008 Farm Bill and provided $25 million total over five years to fund the program. The 2014 Farm Bill increased the mandatory funding level to $33 million total over five years.
Given that the Farm Bill provides funding for CRP-TIP as a lump sum, it is difficult to predict on an annual basis how much money FSA will spend or how many producers FSA will enroll. In 2013 for example, FSA spent roughly $5.4 million to enroll 357 producers, whereas in 2014, the Agency spent roughly $8.5 million to enroll more than 500 producers.
The program will likely run out of money before the current farm bill runs out in 2018. CRP-TIP will need new funding in the next farm bill in order to continue as a farm bill-funded program after 2018.
The new farm bill modifies CRP-TIP slightly by expanding program eligibility to veterans as well as beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers. The new farm bill also increases funding to accommodate the expanded pool of potential farmers that may be interested in using the program.
Section 2006(b) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 amends Section 1235(f) of the Food Security Act of 1985, to be codified at 16 U.S.C. Section 3835(f).
Section 2601 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 amends Section 1241 of the Food Security Act of 1985, to be codified at 16 U.S.C. Section 3841.
Last updated in October 2016.