The USDA is providing $67 million in competitive loans through the new Heirs’ Property Relending Program, which aims to help agricultural producers and landowners resolve heirs’ land ownership and succession issues.
Intermediary lenders — cooperatives, credit unions, and nonprofit organizations — can apply for loans up to $5 million at 1 percent interest once the Farm Service Agency opens the two-month signup window later this month. After FSA selects lenders, heirs can apply directly to those lenders for loans and assistance.
According to the USDA, Heirs’ property issues have long been a barrier for many producers and landowners to access USDA programs and services, and this relending program provides access to capital to help producers find a resolution to these issues.
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, the USDA says. This new effort aims to make policies more equitable.
The department adds that protecting the legacy of family farms for future generations is an example of how it is working to rebuild trust with American farmers and ranchers.
Selected intermediary lenders will determine the rates, terms and payment structure for loans to heirs. Interest rates will be the lowest rate sufficient for intermediaries to cover cost of operating and sustaining the loan.
Heirs may use the loans to resolve title issues by financing the purchase or consolidation of property interests and financing costs associated with a succession plan. This may also include costs and fees associated with buying out fractional interests of other heirs in jointly-owned property to clear the title, as well as closing costs, appraisals, title searches, surveys, preparing documents, mediation and legal services.
Heirs may not use loans for any land improvement, development purpose, acquisition or repair of buildings, acquisition of personal property, payment of operating costs, payment of finders’ fees, or similar costs.
Intermediary lenders will make loans to heirs who:
- are individuals or legal entities with authority to incur the debt and to resolve ownership and succession of a farm owned by multiple owners;
- are a family member or heir-at-law related by blood or marriage to the previous owner of the property;
- and agree to complete a succession plan.
More information will be available in the coming months.