First Three Lenders for Heirs’ Property Relending Program Announced by USDA

The Cherokee Nation Economic Development Trust Authority (CNEDTA), Akiptan, Inc., and the Shared Capital Cooperative have all received approval or conditional approval to act as intermediary lenders under the Heirs’ Property Relending Program, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) (HPRP). These lenders will assist agricultural producers and landowners in resolving heirs’ land ownership and succession difficulties once HPRP loans with them are closed. Additionally, the USDA encourages additional nonprofit organizations, cooperatives, and credit unions to submit applications as intermediate lenders. For these competitive loans, HPRP funds totaling more than $100 million are now offered.

Family land that has been passed down to heirs without a will or deed to establish ownership has been called heirs’ property. Without ownership documentation, it could be challenging for heirs to qualify for federal farm subsidies and might necessitate forced third-party farm partition sales. This relending initiative gives producers and landowners access to finance to assist heirs to find a solution to the property challenges that have long prevented them from using USDA programmes and services.

Zach Ducheneaux, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency, stated that “with this chance, heirs can codify property ownership and succession difficulties, which have long stopped so many from accessing USDA programmes and services” (FSA). “USDA is dedicated to changing its policies to be more egalitarian, and this programme is a crucial component of the endeavour to give opportunities to bring and retain agricultural land in agriculture and enable producers across the country to develop generational wealth,” the agency stated.

Making Loans to Heirs

HPRP intermediary lenders will relend money to qualified heirs to settle title disputes by paying for the acquisition or combination of property interests and the payment of succession-related expenses. This may also include closing charges, appraisals, title searches, surveys, document preparation fees, mediation fees, and legal services, as well as expenditures and fees related to buying out fractional interests of other heirs in jointly owned property to clear the title.

Who Qualifies?

Heirs of intermediary lenders may receive loans.

  • Possess the capacity to incur debt and decide ownership and succession issues pertaining to a farm with several owners;
  • Are a blood relative, spouse, or legal heir of the former owner of the property;
  • Decide to finish a succession plan.

These are loans, not grants, and as such must be repaid with interest at the lenders’ discretion.

Heirs are prohibited from using loans for any type of land improvement, development project, building purchase or repair, personal property purchase, running expense, finders’ fee, or similar expense.

Who the Heirs Should Contact for More Information

Akiptan, Inc https://www.akiptan.org/

  • Service Area: The entire country, focusing on Indian country.
  • Skya Ducheneaux skya@akiptan.org can be reached at (605) 964-8081.

Cherokee Nation Economic Development Trust Authority (CNEDTA) https://www.cherokee.org/

  • Service Area:  Producers in the 14 counties that, in whole or in part, contain the Cherokee Nation Reservation’s rural regions as defined by the USDA. The land must be agricultural land situated in the Service Area, and the borrower(s) must reside there.
  • Contact: Stephen Highers stephen-highers@cherokee.org and Brian Wagman sbac@cherokee.org can be reached at (918) 207-3955 and sbac@cherokee.org, respectively.

https://sharedcapital.coop/, which has a partnership with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, https://www.federation.coop/

  • Service Area: Producers in the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina
  • Contact: Christina Jennings, (612) 767-2114; and Dania Davy, (404) 765-0991 or info@federation.coop

Additionally, USDA will share information on farmers.gov/heirs/relending.

To help heirs finance extra credit requirements in addition to an HPRP loan supplied by an intermediary, FSA may be able to offer additional assistance through the farm ownership and operation loan programmes.

Details for Lenders

Additionally, USDA is providing a second opportunity for qualified organisations that want to participate in the HPRP as intermediary lenders. There are $5 million worth of 1% interest-rate loans available. When the new application period opens, qualified lenders may submit an application using the HPRP application form (FSA-2637) (PDF, 450 KB) and submit the necessary application materials, such as a relending plan, a copy of the CDFI certification, financial statements going back three years, current financial statements, articles of incorporation, and any experience-related supporting documents.

Send these documents to the Heirs’ Property Relending Program, Office of the Deputy Administrator for Farm Loan Programs FSA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Stop 0522 Washington, DC 20250-0522, either electronically at sm.fpac.fsa.wdc.hprp@usda.gov or by mail. These loans presently have access to more than $100 million. For loans to heirs subject to USDA approval, approved intermediary lenders will choose the interest rates, terms, and payment plan, with rates matching the cost of administering and maintaining the loan.

Intermediary lenders have to

  • Be accredited as a financial institution for community development, and
  • Possess expertise and capacity in originating and servicing loans of a comparable sort for agricultural and commercial purposes.

In the event that there are more applications than money, FSA will give priority to those who:

  • Possess at least ten years’ worth of expertise working with farmers who face societal challenges;
  • Those that are situated in states that have enacted or approved the Uniform Partition of Heirs’ Property Act (UPHPA) will be given priority consideration. You may get a list of these states at farmers.gov/heirs/relending.

Additional Details

While owners of heirs’ properties may lack documentation proving their control or ownership of the land, FSA offers additional solutions that enable an heir to get a farm number. Producers may be required to provide particular documentation in states that have ratified the UPHPA in order to obtain a farm number.

Visit farmers.gov/heirs or farmers.gov/heirs/relending to find out more about heirs’ property, HPRP, or UPHPA.

The USDA has a beneficial impact on every American’s life every day. With a greater emphasis on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, creating new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and more, USDA is transforming America’s food system under the Biden-Harris Administration. Go to usda.gov for additional information.

# As an employer, lender, and supplier of equal opportunity, USDA.

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