Newswire : Federation of Southern Cooperatives/ Land Assistance Fund announces FORWARD 2020: National Heirs’ Property Conference

East Point, GA – The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/ Land Assistance Fund announces its inaugural FORWARD 2020: NATIONAL HEIRS’ PROPERTY CONFERENCE, in Atlanta, Georgia, December 4-6, 2019, at the Embassy Suites By Hilton Atlanta Airport.
FORWARD 2020 will be the nation’s largest gathering of heirs’ property owners and passionate land retention practitioners from across the US.
FORWARD 2020, a “boot camp” style event, will offer Master Classes taught by experts and landowners and one-on-one meetings with resource professionals. This intensive, two day conference will be a one stop shop with everything heirs need to create a path FORWARD!
The National Heirs Property Conference will feature two educational tracks. Track 1 will focus on how heirs’ property owners can kick start their efforts to resolve their heirs’ property issues and unlock their land’s wealth potential. Track 2 will focus on professionals who work with heirs’ property owners. Track 2 will include train-the-trainer educational sessions and Master Classes to sharpen skills and share peer-to-peer learning. The highlight of Track 2 will be a comprehensive workshop on heirs’ property legislation and regulations from the 2018 Farm Bill.
“This conference will be a game changer for many farm families with heirs’ property. It is intentionally designed to empower heirs’ property owners with the strategies and resources to clear their title and make their land a wealth building asset,” said Monica Rainge, Director of Land Retention and Advocacy at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/LAF.
For over 52 years, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/ Land Assistance Fund has assisted heirs’ property owners in land retention and sustainable development. The Federation’s history of using successful land retention strategies has focused on outreach, education, and technical assistance in resolving heirs property issues, estate planning, and developing alternative ownership models such as corporations, cooperatives, trusts, limited liability companies and intra-family buy-outs.
For more information, please visit their website at www.federation.coop or call 404.765.0991.

Newswire : Senate passes Jones amendment to fund Heirs’ Property Program

Sen. Doug Jones speaking on floor of the Senate

WASHINGTON – By a vote of 91-1, the Senate passed an amendment on Monday, October 29, 2019, introduced by Senator Doug Jones (D-Ala.) to help heirs’ property landowners secure a clear title for their land. The amendment to the FY2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill includes $5 million to fund a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program Senator Jones was able to include in the 2018 Farm Bill. His provision authorized the Farm Service Agency to make loans that will help families resolve heir’s property ownership and succession issues.
The Federation of Southern Cooperatives and the Rural Coalition worked on helping to frame the language for the heirs property sections of the 2018 Farm Bill which were introduced in a bi-partisan effort by Jones and Senator Tim Scott (R – SC).
Senator Jones took to the Senate floor immediately before the vote to encourage his colleagues to support the amendment. Copies of his statement are available on his werbsite.
Heirs’ property is land that has been informally passed down within families, often for several generations when the original owner fails to make a will. This can lead to costly legal complications and prevent landowners from qualifying for federal assistance. Heirs’ property is predominantly owned by African American farmers and producers and an estimated 60-percent of minority-owned land is projected to be heirs’ property.
Challenges associated with heirs’ property status are the leading cause of involuntary land loss among African Americans. Landowners of heirs’ property also cannot qualify for USDA loans necessary for farming, receive disaster relief funding, or use their land as collateral in private lending. More background on heirs’ property and the amendment are on the Senator’s website
Over the past year, Senator Jones has led a bipartisan effort in the U.S. Senate to help these landowners gain fair access to federal programs and to make it easier to resolve legal issues that result from their heirs’ property status. In addition to the re-lending provision, Senator Jones also secured a provision in the 2018 Farm Bill to help heirs’ property owners obtain a USDA farm number, which is key to accessing assistance from the agency’s programs.
More information on Heirs Property and an upcoming national confertence is also available at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives website at www.federation.coop.

Congresswoman Terri Sewell visits Greene County

 

 

Congresswoman Terri Sewell visited the Eutaw City Hall last Monday for a “Congress in Your Community” session serving people who live in Greene County. Sewell who represents the Seventh Congressional District of Alabama that stretches from Birmingham through Tuscaloosa into the western Alabama Black Belt counties came to give a report to her constituents on the status of legislation and projects from the nation’s Capitol. “Things in Washington, D. C. are pretty dysfunctional. We are supposed to be seeking solutions but mostly we see politicians, like President Trump sowing discord,” said Sewell. “ I am watching the 2018 Farm Bill to be sure that this major agricultural legislation serves family farmers, especially African-American farmers, does not slash child nutrition and SNAP (food stamps) too far and helps our catfish farmers, who are endangered by imports of mislabeled fish grown under less than satisfactory environmental conditions,” said Sewell.

Sewell indicated that much of the government, including farm programs, was operating under a Continuing Resolution for budgetary purposes until December 7, 2018. “ We still have to reach some decisions and compromises to fund the government. I hope we will be able to do this work during the lame duck session after the November election,” said Sewell. Sewell said she hopes Congress will take action on raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to a more livable wage in stages up to $15 an hour, depending on local economic conditions. She also said the issue of pay equity for women needs to be addressed. She also said changes and improvements were needed in the Affordable Care Act to make it more effective for people. “We don’t need to tear it apart, like the President and Republicans are doing but we need to fix it,” she said. Sewell said that she was focused on changes in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates that would help rural hospitals in their efforts to survive and continue providing health services in disadvantaged communities. Sewell said she was also concerned about tariffs that President Trump had placed on steel, aluminum and automobile parts. “In Alabama, we are the nation’s third largest producer of automobiles and auto parts and these tariffs may hurt our automobile industry in the long run.” Sewell introduced William Scott of Selma who is working with the upcoming 2020 U. S. Census. Scott said that jobs will be available for people who want to work on the Census. He urged people who were interested to go to the website: www.2020census.gov/jobs or call 1-855-562-2020. Sewell concluded the program by urging everyone in attendance to be sure to vote in the up-coming Midterm elections in November. “Please go and vote and give the Democratic Party a chance to be a check and balance on this President and his party who have controlled the national government for the past two years.”