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USDA Transition Program Gives Hope to Young and Old Alike

Taylor Grabanksi, a 23-year-old beginning farmer, and Rose Potulny, a 92-year-old landowner, in Walsh County, N.D

Taylor Grabanksi, a 23-year-old beginning farmer, and Rose Potulny, a 92-year-old landowner, in Walsh County, N.D

When Taylor Grabanksi, a 23-year-old beginning farmer in Walsh County, North Dakota, heard about the Farm Service Agency’s Transition Incentive Program (TIP) he knew this was a program he wanted to check out.

Taylor grew up on a farm near Inkster, N.D., and has wanted to farm all his life. Unfortunately, the toughest thing to get his hands on to expand his farming operation was land. That’s where Rose Potulny, a 92-year-old Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) participant, came into play.

Potulny and her late husband Victor farmed up to 18 quarter sections of land in their day. “We started with nothing. Victor’s dad helped us get into farming and everything took off from there,” said Potulny. “We farmed all our lives. It wasn’t always an easy job but it was sure a good way of life.”

Eventually, Potulny’s rented most of their land to Taylor’s dad and uncle and the remainder of the land went into the CRP program.

With her CRP acreage expiring, the FSA TIP program was a win, win option for Potulny and Taylor. TIP allows retired or retiring owners of land enrolled in a CRP contract to sell or lease that land to a non-family member who is a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher.

The program allowed them to work out a mutually acceptable cash rental agreement, since Potulny will continue to receive two years of additional CRP rental payments for renting the 400 acres of expiring CRP land to Taylor for at least five years.

“Breaking and preparing CRP land to bring it back into production is not cheap and the yield potential the first few years is not very good,” said Taylor. “You need a break on the rent to even consider renting ground that has been in CRP, otherwise it’s just not feasible.”

Taylor started farming about 50 acres in 2002 and by 2010 he was farming 550 acres. “Being able to rent Rose’s CRP acreage nearly doubled the size of my operation in one year,” said Taylor.

Since Taylor and his wife Amy are expecting their first baby in February, “let’s just say Rose had a helping hand in making the future a little brighter for a young beginning farmer in North Dakota,” he said.

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