Preventing Heirs Property and Increasing Agricultural Sustainability: A Training for Extension Agents and Limited Resource Farmers in Rural Georgia

Project Overview

LS20-328
Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2020: $50,000.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2022
Grant Recipient: Georgia Heirs Property Law Center, Inc
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Principal Investigator:
Skipper StipeMaas
The Georgia Heirs Property Law Center, Inc.
Co-Investigators:
Delene Porter
Georgia Heirs Property Law Center, Inc
Wanda Strickland
The Georgia Heirs Property Law Center, Inc.

Commodities

Not commodity specific

Practices

  • Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, technical assistance
  • Sustainable Communities: community services, quality of life

    Proposal abstract:

    Heirs property, or land with unclear title, adversely impacts agricultural sustainability because its multiple owners (also known as “tenants in common”) are unable to leverage the economic and agricultural best management practices to farm, timber, and conserve their land or pass that wealth to the next generation. In Georgia, 10-25% of the properties have been identified as probable heirs property meaning that there is over $34 billion tax-appraised land that is essentially “locked equity,” contributing to unmanaged farmland and generational poverty throughout the state. Through a hybrid Train-the-Trainer and Direct Training model, the Georgia Heirs Property Law Center, Inc.’s “Preventing Heirs Property and Increasing Agricultural Sustainability: A Training for Extension Agents and Limited-Resource Farmers in Rural Georgia” will address the lack of understanding and myths around heirs property and how preventing and resolving heirs property will achieve greater agricultural sustainability by providing training to Ft. Valley’s Cooperative Extension Agents and Limited-Resource Farmers in Rural Georgia. This project will refine and deliver quality educational materials and a curriculum on Heirs Property & Best Land Management Practices to landowners through three Mini-Landowner-Academies and provide Technology Transfer to Ft. Valley’s Extension Agents of newly developed Estate Planning Tools created by the Center in collaboration with the State Bar of Georgia’s Estate Planning Law Section and considered Georgia’s gold standard documents in estate planning. Materials for the trainings are being provided in-kind through the Center’s partnership with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objective #1: Technology Transfer of New Estate Planning Tools- The Center will provide Ft. Valley’s Extension Agents with training on 1) heirs property’s impact on agricultural sustainability, 2) the life-cycle of the title clearing process, and 3) new estate planning tools to prevent heirs property. The Center is working with the Fiduciary Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia on the development of comprehensive estate planning forms and education materials that will be made available to the Agents.

    Objective #2: Refine/Deliver Heirs Property for Agricultural Sustainability Curriculum- Limited-Resource Farmers will receive direct training through Mini-Landowner-Academies, two-day intensive courses, on best management agricultural practices; navigating the new Farm Bill with heirs property; and on-site technical assistance for clearing heirs property and creating an estate plan.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.