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TIP Net program helps young farmers get land

Jeff Caldwell 12/13/2010 @ 3:34pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

If you're a young farmer trying to get started, or you're looking to retire, USDA has a new tool that can help you with one step in that process.

This week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released a new online resource called TIP Net, a tool provided by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) that will help young and beginning farmers partner up with retiring farmers who have expiring CRP contracts. The TIP (Transition Incentives Program) Net will help younger farmers -- whether just starting out -- get land to grow their operations.



When a retiring farmer enrolls in the Transition Incentives Program, he or she starts the process that will ultimately yield up to 2 additional CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) payments. Those extra payments come when the farmer signs an agreement to sell or lease those CRP acres to a beginning of "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," according to a USDA report.

By the end of November, USDA had 372 contracts on 52,000-plus acres signed up for TIP, amounting to almost $5 million in rental payments back to retiring landowners.

Couple TIP with other FSA loan programs can make it easier for young and beginning farmers to get a foothold in the industry, officials say.

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