USDA grants $ 67 million for the Heirs’ mortgage program
By Jennifer Whitlock
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced it will provide $ 67 million in competitive loans under a new Heir Property Loan (HPRP) program.
The program aims to help farmers and ranchers address land ownership and inheritance issues, which U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says disproportionately affect minority landowners, especially farmers and black ranchers.
“While those affected are found in all geographic and cultural areas, many black farmers and other groups who have suffered historical discrimination have inherited property from their heirs,” he said. “The USDA is committed to revising the policies to make them more equitable and examining the barriers faced by heir landowners is part of that effort. This helps ensure that we protect the legacy of these family farms for generations to come.
Heir property is a legal term used when a person dies without a will, or without a will, indicating that all the heirs have a common and equal interest in a piece of land. The inherited property does not have a clear title or legal title document, so although the heirs have the right to use the property, they do not have a clear or negotiable title to the land.
It is often difficult for farmers and ranchers on heir-owned land to establish the number of farms required to participate in various USDA programs, including farm loan, disaster relief and disaster relief programs. conservation.
The barrier to access was addressed in the 2018 Farm Bill, which authorized the USDA to use alternative documentation for farmers and ranchers of heirs to establish a farm number. Vilsack said the HPRP will further help heir real estate farm operators participate in USDA programs.
Heir ownership issues are common among black landowners, as in the post-Civil War era and early 1900s, black families often did not have access to and did not have funding for legal representation and advice, according to the head of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Program at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU). Dr Clarence Bunch. Ownership of land becomes more complex as shares become more and more fractionated by distribution among different family lines over generations, often resulting in tens or hundreds of individual shares.
Through HPRP, intermediary lenders such as co-ops, credit unions, and nonprofits can apply for loans of up to $ 5 million at 1% interest when the Farm Service Agency (FSA) opens. a two-month sign-up window later this month.
Heirs can apply directly to these lenders for loans and help with title issues. Lenders will provide financing for the purchase or consolidation of real estate interests and the financing costs associated with estate plans. The USDA said this may include the costs and charges associated with redeeming fractional interests of other heirs in condominiums to clear title, as well as closing costs, appraisals, title searches, investigations, mediation and legal services.
“This restitution program provides access to capital to help producers find a solution to these problems,” USDA said in the press release announcing the HPRP. “It will also keep farmland in use, protect the legacy of family farms and support economic viability. “
The heirs cannot use the loans for land improvement, development, the acquisition of buildings or movable property, repairs, operating costs or finder’s fees.
More information on the ownership of heirs is available from the USDA in this fact sheet and on this web page.
Click here for specific information on HPRP, as well as expected updates as more details become available.
A PVAMU program, Sustainable Forestry African American Land Retention, helps forest land owners manage forest land and provides education to families seeking to avoid or resolve heir property issues. Information for interested Texas forest land owners is available online.