Success for young, beginning, and/or socially disadvantaged (New Gen) farmers and ranchers depends on their ability to secure suitable land to start and expand their operations. Yet this is a significant and widely reported challenge. It is especially difficult for beginners to acquire suitable land with appropriate housing and infrastructure.
The U.S. federal government and several states have recognized this challenge and addressed it with various types of financial incentive policies. However, little research has been done to measure the impacts and reach of these policies, even though the biggest of them have a decade of experience, increasing participation, and investment totaling over $210 million. In this viewpoint, the article first introduces the slim evidence that exists of the impacts and reach of land access policy incentive (LAPI) programs. Next, it calls for further assessment of three major types of LAPIs. At the state level, these include (1) beginning farmer tax credits and (2) easement incentives to help New Gen farmers buy and preserve farmland. At the federal level, the article includes the Conservation Reserve Program-Transition Incentives Program (CRP-TIP) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. The purpose of evaluation will be to understand more about whom LAPI programs help, what effects they have, and what recommendations can be made to strengthen policy design and program delivery.