Tell USDA to Stop Delaying Implementation of the CRP Transition Option for Beginning and Minority Producers!
Change happens at the transition. An aging farmer population, a new generation of farmers desperate for access to land, 4.2 million acres of land about to come out of the Conservation Reserve Program, and a growing consumer demand for food grown by sustainable and organic producers, together present a tremendous opportunity to transform our food system.
In the last Farm Bill, the sustainable agriculture community successfully created a new program-theConservation Reserve Program (CRP) Transition Option- that offers incentives to land owners enrolled in the CRP to sell or lease the land to beginning and minority producers using sustainable or organic farming practices at the end of the CRP contract.
USDA is planning to delay implementation of the CRP Transition Option for at least two years.
Tell USDA we can’t waste this opportunity.
The CRP Transition Option provides incentives for CRP landowners who do not intend to extend their CRP contracts or re-enroll land back into the CRP to transfer (rent or lease) the land to beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers who are willing to return the land to production using sustainable or organic grazing, cropping, or mixed cropping-grazing systems. In return for the preference shown to beginning or minority farmers or ranchers, the landowner will receive an additional two years of CRP rental payments. The CRP Transition Option is already fully paid for through mandatory dollars in the 2008 Farm Bill.
Unfortunately, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) plans to hold up the implementation of the new CRP Transition Option in order to conduct a multi-year environmental impact statement (EIS) review on CRP policies in general. While the proposed EIS is relevant for the general CRP, it is inappropriate to include the Transition Option since the land is leaving the program. Importantly, the EIS would delay CRP Transition Option implementation for at least two years which is when most CRP contracts are set to expire (over 4.2 million acres in just 2009 and 2010), thus wasting taxpayer dollars and an important environmental opportunity.
What you can do: Ask USDA to stop delaying implementation of the CRP Transition Option by moving the Transition Option out of the EIS and immediately issuing a rule to implement the Transition Option. Ask USDA to also actively promote the Transition Option to beginning and minority farmers and ranchers and to owners of the over 4 million acres that is about to leave the CRP. Sign the petition today!