The Federation's Historic Rural Training Research Center, Epes AL
REGIONAL HEIRS PROPERTY & MEDIATION CENTER
The Federation offers Heir Property Assistance or Mediation in the following states:
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, and U.S. Virgin Islands.
FSC/LAF MEDIATION SERVICES AVAILABLE FOR:
Florida/Virgin Islands (FAMP)
Georgia Agricultural Mediation Program (GAMP),
Louisiana Mediation Program(LAMP)
Mississippi Agriculture Mediation Program (MAMP)
Many of the cases are eligible for mediation under these programs:
Agricultural loans, whether made by USDA or commercial lenders and;
Disputes involving USDA actions on farm and conservation programs, wetlands determinations, rural water loan programs, grazing on national forest system lands, pesticides, rural housing and business loans, and crop insurance.
Who can use the program?
Farmers, Neighbors, and Municipalities with Right to Farm disputes
Farmers and USDA Agencies with USDA program disputes
Farmers, Lenders, and Creditors with Agricultural Credit disputes
The mediator is:
Maintains a respectful and safe environment for the parties;
Allows parties to speak and be heard;
Helps identify and clarify the issues;
Directs collaborative problem-solving;
Helps the parties test solutions;
Doesn't make decisions for you and;
Summarizes the agreements reached by the parties
Black Land Loss Prevention
Land is one of the greatest and most valuable assets African American farmers possess. Black farmland ownership, which peaked in 1910 at 16 to 19 million acres, has decreased to less than 3 million acres today. The causes of the loss of rural black land are numerous and complex, but none is more notable than heirs' property.
Heirs Property is created when a landowner dies without a will, or other forms of estate planning, for the transfer of ownership of land to another. Subsequently, heirs' property owners do not have clear title to the land they own.
Today, it is estimated that over 60% of all black-owned land is heirs' property.
For over 5 decades the Federation has provided education and technical assistance to thousands of heirs land property owners across the South with the goal of reversing the trend of black land loss and to encourage land-based economic development. In support of this mission, the Federation established its Regional Heirs Property and Mediation Center in 2017 to coordinate a collaborative network of partnerships and resources to address the systemic problems associated with heirs' property throughout the Black Belt region. These partnerships are providing rich opportunities for research and advocacy on heirs property issues.
The Federation of Southern Cooperatives, in collaboration with the Alcorn State University Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center, completed a research study entitled, “Land Loss Trends Among Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers in the Black Belt Region.” The primary goal of this study was to better describe the impact of heirs' property on Black farms and land loss to recommend policies that could decelerate that loss and improve access to USDA programs for heirs' property owners.