U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced Thursday that the USDA is providing $67 million in competitive loans through the new Heirs’ Property Relending Program (HPRP).

“Congress has appropriated resources to us,” said Vilsack. “At USDA, we believe those resources will allow for roughly $67 million of opportunity for the Department of Agriculture to lend that money at a very low interest rate to Community Development Financial Institutions – or CDFI’s – who have had experience in working with socially disadvantaged producers, beginning farmers and others who show an ability to assist individuals who are owners of fractionated interest be able to consolidate land.”

Vilsack says intermediary lenders such as cooperatives, credit unions and nonprofit organizations, can apply for loans up to $5 million at 1% interest once the Farm Service Agency opens the two-month signup window in late August.

“This $67 million will be lent out,” said Vilsack. “As it’s repaid, it gives us the opportunity to continually create a revolving loan fund that hopefully over time will provide significant opportunities to consolidate land ownership and open up new opportunities for those who currently are stuck based on the fact they have fractionated interest. This is also an issue – I might add – that also impacts Native Americans in a very significant way.”

Vilsack adds heirs’ property issues have long been a barrier for many producers and landowners to access USDA programs and services. After FSA selects lenders, heirs can apply directly to those lenders for loans and assistance.

To learn more about the Heirs’ Property Relending Program, visit usda.gov.

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network

Pictured: USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack