Sunday, December 14, 2008

One Problem for Black Landowners

One problem for blacks in maintaining farms is indicated by this Federal Register notice (Hat Tip--Sustainable Ag Coalition):
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) announces the availability of approximately $230,000 in funds for fiscal year (FY) 2009 for cooperative agreements to develop and implement pilot programs aimed at: (1) Preventing and alleviating the problems facing African Americans in rural areas that are involved with real estate with clouded title due to unresolved interests of generations of heirs (otherwise known as ‘‘heir properties’’); (2) establishing an outreach/educational program that will assist farmers and homeowners with heir property issues in expanding ownership; and (3) enabling farming heir property owners to develop economically viable agricultural operations and accrue homeownership.
Having clear title is prerequisite to getting financing. I assume the problems behind the clouded title were landowners dying intestate, with the descendants never resolving the title. That's something not likely to show up in history books, or in lawsuits like Pigford. See this piece from the Federation of Southern Cooperatives. (Or Google "heir property").

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