Senate approves $5 million for ‘heirs’ property’ initiative

On a 90-1 roll call, senators voted on Monday to provide $5 million for a USDA "re-lending" program to resolve ownership of so-called heirs' property, an issue that has vexed black farmers for generations. Alabama Sen. Doug Jones said the issue, which has led to forced sales of land, was "yet another vestige of the Jim Crow era that has lasted far too long and we must correct."

Deep in the farm bill, a step forward for black farmers on heirs’ property

While debate over the farm bill has mostly centered on food assistance programs, an under-the-radar provision in the omnibus legislation could greatly assist farmers and ranchers who operate on heirs’ property—that is, inherited land that lacks clear title. The provision is particularly important to black farmers, because an estimated 40 percent of African-American owned land is located on heirs' property and as a result, those farmers have been blocked from federal farm programs.