Updated: Jan 12, 2021
Atlanta, Georgia, January 6, 2020- For almost a century, the number of Black farmers and Black-owned land steadily declined. One of the primary reasons for that decline was and continues to be heirs’ property. More than 60 percent of Black farmers currently operate on heirs’ property. Heirs’ property—land owned by two or more people, usually with a common ancestor who died without leaving a legal will—is the leading cause of involuntary land loss among Black farmers.
John Deere is assisting the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/ Land Assistance Fund—the oldest and largest Black farmer institution and only cooperatively owned organization of Black farmers, landowners and cooperatives in the country—in its efforts to address heirs property and leverage additional expertise and resources around their Regional Heirs’ Property & Mediation Center. The Federation of Southern Cooperatives has been leading grassroots solutions on heirs’ property, land retention and cooperative wealth building in African American communities in the rural south for over 53 years.
“The partnership with The Federation will advance resources that will effectively secure property ownership for Black farmers and their families,” said Marc Howze, Group President, Lifecycle Solutions and Chief Administrative Officer for John Deere. “We have a tremendous opportunity to make an impactful difference in the community.”