USDA Eases Rules on Farm, Ranch Lands

The USDA recently made the transfer of some conservation lands easier as a way to lessen the burden on new farmers and ranchers and make use of tentatively productive areas.

USDA Deputy Under Secretary Lanon Baccam said the early termination of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts affects only the least environmentally delicate land. He said allowing early terminations will simplify property transfer to family members as well as future generations of farmers and ranchers.

“The average age of principal farm operators is 58,” Baccam said. “So, land tenure, succession and estate planning, and access to land is an increasingly important issue for the future of agriculture and a priority for USDA. Access to land remains the biggest barrier for beginning farmers and ranchers.”

He said young farmers need to be able start with a solid foundation in order to succeed.

“There are Conservation Reserve Program acres that are rested and ready to be productive, an original goal of CRP,” Baccam said. “The technical teams at USDA will tell us which ones can terminate from the program with little impact on the overall conservation efforts.”

Usually, terminating a CPR contract early requires repayment of all previous payments with interest, but the repayment now will be waived if the property is acquired by a new farmer or rancher through a sale or lease with an option to buy.

“Starting the next generation of farmers and ranchers out with conservation and stewardship in mind is another important part of this announcement,” Baccam added.

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Idaho Farm Bureau 275 Tierra Vista Drive Pocatello, ID 83201

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