In Washington, D. C., the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an early termination opportunity for certain Conservation Reserve Program contracts, making it easier to transfer property to the next generation of farmers and ranchers, including family members. Normally, if a landowner terminates a CRP contract early, they are required to repay all previous payments plus interest. The new policy waives this repayment if the land is transferred to a beginning farmer or rancher.
“The average age of principal farm operators is 58,” said Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary Lanon Baccam. “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.”
According to the 2014 Tenure, Ownership and Transition of Agricultural Land survey, U.S. farmland owners expect to transfer 93 million acres to new ownership during 2015-2019; representing 10 percent of all farmland across the nation.