USDA invests $67 million in Heirs’ Property Relending Program

The USDA is addressing heirs land ownership and succession issues by offering $67 million in competitive loans for farmers.

Ag Secretary Vilsack says the Heirs Property Relending Program is part of USDA’s commitment to ensuring equity for all farmers and protecting the legacy of family farms.

“Title to property is not just proof of ownership but it is really the gateway to opportunity, and today more opportunity is going to be open for farmers. That is a good day.”

Heirs’ property is family land inherited without a will or legal documentation of ownership. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, member of the House Ag Committee, says the HPRP program will, “Address claims to property that historically black farmers have been edged out of, it’ll help provide more black farmers across the nation with resources that should be available for everyone, and it will help make sure we can engage more black farmers in agriculture.”

Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia says over one third of southern black owned land is considered heir’s property. “Heirs’ property is a real and direct threat to land ownership and the ability of these farmers to build intergenerational wealth for their families.”

Bustos acknowledges the program won’t fix everything but says it is a big step in the right direction. “In the past, the USDA and our country did wrong by black farmers, dead wrong. I am here to say that it is past time we take steps to fix it.”

Cooperatives, credit unions, and nonprofit organizations can apply for loans up to $5 million at 1% interest when sign up begins in late August. Once the Farm Service Agency chooses lenders, heirs can apply directly to those lenders for assistance.

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