Land Access Needs TIPped

Mar 8, 2024

The next generation of farmers is struggling to secure land. It turns out that “living offa the fatta the lan’” (thank you, Lennie; Of Mice and Men) isn’t that easy when you can’t even get the land in the first place.


Enter LAPIs: These are land access policy incentives at both the state and federal levels. One of the most noteworthy LAPIs is the Transition Incentives Program aka TIP. TIP is a project of the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) funded by national farm bills. 


Landowners who have farmland due to be released from CRP are given two years of financial incentives if they lease or sell to a “beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher” with TIP


Is CRP-TIP working? In a recent evaluation of the program, as part of the Land Access Policy Incentives project, supported by the American Farmland Trust, Indiana University, and Portland State University, the authors found interesting results. 


First of all, participation is low, with an average of 300 CRP-TIP contracts per year (January 2014-April 2022). The majority are in the Midwest, Mountain West, and Plains regions.


The gap: There is quite literally a “spatial mismatch” between where next-gen farmers live and where there are high rates of TIP participation. 


One consistency is actually inconsistency. Inconsistency in outreach is causing erratic participation. Plus the incentives focus on the landowners with land retiring from CRP, providing next-gen purchasers with opportunities to buy, but no incentives.

TIP needs tipped: The authors suggest TIP could be reformed to focus on the next-gen specifically and make incentives applicable to all farmland, not just expiring CRP. Information and support for TIP must be consistent, and federal staff must be ready to support and educate about the program. 

At the end of the day, this could give farmers more tools to feed their herds, while also making the additive approval process more efficient and consistent.


Soundbite: “This legislation would provide food manufacturers with a pathway to make truthful, non-misleading production, environmental, and well-being claims for animal foods that have been substantiated to provide such benefits more efficiently.” — David Fairfield, Senior VP of Feed at the National Grain and Feed Association


Late last week, the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine revoked a 25-year-old policy that made it more difficult for animal food ingredient manufacturers to invest in the U.S. because of the slow regulatory process. Now, feed additives can be reviewed through the appropriate ingredient review process, not the CVM’s animal drug review rules.


However, for these changes to the regulatory review process to be codified, it will take a vote from Congress on the Innovative FEED Act.

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