Monday | October 28, 2019

Scott Applauds Passage of Heirs' Property Amendment

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Doug Jones (D-AL) introduced an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bill for the Department of Agriculture. This amendment would appropriate funds for the Secretary to implement the pilot project for USDA to provide loans to help resolve heirs’ property issues. The amendment passed the Senate by a vote of 91-1.

“Heirs’ property overwhelmingly impacts African-American land ownership, and in turn, prevents many farmers and ranchers from obtaining farm numbers and subsequent access to a multitude of USDA programs,” said Senator Scott. “I want to thank my colleague Senator Jones for working with me on this issue and this legislation. I am excited that our legislation took a step forward today and am hopeful that this will positively impact heirs’ property owners across South Carolina and the nation.”

Background

Heirs’ property refers to land that has been informally passed down within families, oftentimes for several generations, which often leads to legal complications and prevents landowners from qualifying for federal assistance. Sens. Scott and Jones introduced the Fair Access for Farmers and Ranchers Act (S.3117) last year, and it was included in the 2018 Farm Bill. Details on the bill can be found here.

In July, the senators sent a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture, urging the USDA to immediately implement the provisions of the Farm Bill that would benefit owners of heirs’ property. The letter can be found here.


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