As I laid out here,
Our federal and state policies have moved us precariously close to being food-dependent on other countries. Today in the United States there are only two million farmers and ranchers and the average age of today’s farmer is sixty years old. The proportion of young farmers dropped from 15% in 1982 to only 6% in 2002. Their experience is not being passed on to the younger generation. Too few people today have that vital farming know-how to effectively run a farm.
A new program was announced that might help alleviate this problem slightly.
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced the Transition Incentives Program (TIP) – a new program under the Conservation Title of the 2008 Farm Bill – to encourage retired or retiring owners or operators to transition their land to beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers.
This program will “provide annual rental payments to the retiring farmer for up to two additional years after the date of the expiration of the CRP contract, provided the transition is not to a family member.”