House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott Comments on Biden Administration's $67 Million Investment to Help Heirs Resolve Land Ownership and Succession Issues
WASHINGTON, DC - Last week a pivotal announcement was made by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack during a press conference, as he revealed that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be providing $67 million in competitive loans through the new Heirs’ Property Relending Program (HPRP). The program aims to help agricultural producers and landowners resolve heirs’ land ownership and succession issues.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott applauded the recent announcement for the help it will provide to landowners and producers.
“I want to thank Secretary Vilsack and the USDA staff for standing up and rolling out the Heirs’ Property Relending Program that was authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill. The decline in land ownership among Black farmers is a national tragedy, and I am thankful that Congress finally took steps to try and address heirs’ property issues in the last farm bill,” he commented. “I am also thankful to our Ag Appropriations Chairman, Sanford Bishop, who provided funding to assist those who are working with families to ensure that land is not sold out from under them. This is an issue that also impacts tribal members and Native American farmers and ranchers, and I am pleased that the Agriculture Committees are supporting efforts to protect the most sacred thing for agriculture producers, their land.”
The press conference was held alongside U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock; U.S. Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.; and U.S. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, according to a release. It was also announced during the conference that intermediary lenders—cooperatives, credit unions, and nonprofit organization—can apply for loans up to $5 million at 1 percent interest one once the Farm Service Agency (FSA) opens the two-month signup window in late August.
“While those affected are in all geographic and cultural areas, many Black farmers and other groups who have experienced historic discrimination have inherited heirs’ property,” Vilsack said. “USDA is committed to revising policies to be more equitable and examining barriers faced by heirs’ property owners is part of that effort. This helps ensure that we protect the legacy of these family farms for generations to come.”
Once the FSA selects lenders, heirs can apply directly to those lenders for loans and assistance. This relending program will provide access to capital to help producers find a resolution to heirs’ property issues that have long been a hurdle for many landowners and producers to access USDA programs and services.
The Heirs’ Property Relending Program serves as another way that the USDA is actively working to rebuild trust with American farmers and ranchers. Each HPRP loan will need to be repaid as directed by the 2018 Farm Bill.
For information about eligible lenders, heirs, and other details about the program, click here.
As more programs are announced to help the agricultural community, AndNowUKnow will continue to report.