WASHINGTON, August 18, 2022 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that Akiptan, Inc., Cherokee Nation Economic Development Trust Authority (CNEDTA), and Shared Capital Cooperative have been approved or conditionally approved as intermediary lenders through the Heirs Property Loan Program (HPRP) . Once HPRP loans are made with these lenders, they will assist agricultural producers and landowners in resolving issues of land ownership and heir succession. Additionally, the USDA is encouraging more intermediary lenders, including cooperatives, credit unions, and nonprofit organizations to apply. Currently, over $100 million in HPRP financing is available for these competitive loans.
Inheritor property is family land that has passed to descendants without a will or deed proving ownership. Without proof of ownership, it can become difficult for heirs to obtain federal benefits for farms and could force third-party share sales. Heir ownership issues have long been a barrier for many growers and landowners to access USDA programs and services, and this retrocession program provides access to capital to help heirs find a solution.
“With this opportunity, heirs can formalize land ownership and inheritance issues, which have long kept so many people from accessing USDA programs and services,” said Zach Ducheneaux, Administrator of the Farm Service Agency. (FSA) of the USDA. “The USDA is committed to revising policies to be more equitable and this program is a critical part of the effort to provide opportunities to bring and keep farmland into agriculture and to enable the country’s producers to create generational wealth.”
Give back to heirs
HPRP’s intermediary lenders will re-lend funds to eligible heirs to resolve title issues by financing the purchase or consolidation of real estate interests and financing costs associated with an estate plan. It may also include costs and fees associated with redeeming fractional interests of other heirs in jointly held property to clear title, as well as closing costs, appraisals, title searches, surveys, preparation of documents, mediation and legal services.
Who is eligible?
Intermediary lenders can provide loans to heirs who:
- Are natural or legal persons entitled to contract the debt and to resolve the ownership and succession of a farm belonging to several owners;
- Are a family member or heir by marriage related by blood or marriage to the former owner of the property;
- Agree to complete a succession plan.
These are loans (not grants) that will have to be repaid at the interest rates set by the lenders.
Heirs may not use the loans for any land improvement, development, acquisition or repair of buildings, acquisition of movable property, payment of operating expenses, payment of intermediary or similar fees.
Who heirs can contact for additional information
- Service Area: Nationwide, targeting Indian Country.
Cherokee Nation Economic Development Trust Authority (CNEDTA)
- Service Area: Producers in rural areas (as designated by the USDA) of the 14 counties, in whole or in part, encompassing the Cherokee Nation Reservation. The borrower(s) must reside within the service area and the land must be agricultural land within the service area.
Shared capital cooperativewhich has a partnership with Federation of Southern Cooperatives
- Service Area: Producers in the following states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina
Additionally, the USDA will share information at farmers.gov/heirs/relending.
The FSA may be able to provide further assistance through the Farm Property and Operating Loan Schemes to help heirs finance other credit needs in conjunction with an HPRP loan provided through an intermediary.
Information for lenders
The USDA is also opening a second opportunity for eligible entities wishing to become intermediary lenders under the HPRP. Loans of up to $5 million at 1% interest are available. Once the new application period opens, eligible lenders can apply using the HPRP application form (FSA-2637) (PDF, 450 KB) and provide the required application documentation, including a loan plan, a copy of CDFI certification, financial statements for the past three years, current financial statements, incorporation documents and any supporting documents related to experience.
Submit these documents electronically to [email protected] or by mail to Heirs’ Property Relending Program, Office of the Deputy Administrator for Farm Loan Programs FSA, US Department of Agriculture 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Stop 0522 Washington, DC 20250-0522. There are currently over $100 million available for these loans. Approved intermediary lenders will determine heir loan rates, terms, and payment structure subject to USDA approval, with interest rates covering the cost of operating and maintaining the loan.
Intermediate lenders must:
- be certified as a Community Development Financial Institution, and
- have the experience and ability to provide and manage agricultural and commercial loans of a similar nature.
If applications exceed the amount of funds available, the FSA will give priority to applicants who both:
- have at least 10 years or more of experience with socially disadvantaged farmers; and
- are located in states that have enacted legislation consisting of the enactment or adoption of the Uniform Heirs’ Property Division Act (UPHPA) will receive first preference. A list of these states is available at farmers.gov/heirs/relending.
While owners of heirs’ properties may lack proof of ownership or control of the land, the FSA offers alternative options that allow an heir to obtain a farm number. In states that have adopted the UPHPA, growers can provide specific documentation to receive a farm number.
To learn more about heir ownership, HPRP, or UPHPA, go to farmers.gov/heirs or farmers.gov/heirs/relending.
The USDA touches the lives of all Americans every day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming the US food system with greater emphasis on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe food, healthy and nutritious in all communities, creating new markets and income streams for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in clean energy infrastructure and capacity in the Rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and creating a workforce that is more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.
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