Black farmers in the United States lost nearly 90 percent of their farmland during the 20th century, 被称为继承人财产的法律纠纷是潜在的主要原因.
黑色的土地所有者 have been disproportionately affected by heirs' property—which is land passed down through generations without legal title—due to a history of racism in this country. The federal government has an obligation to help these landowners resolve their title issues, so they can more easily qualify for federal loans and grants and avoid being taken advantage of by predatory buyers.
During the 20th century, Black farmers lost 90 percent of their land, valued at $3260亿年. The number of Black farmers declined 98 percent, a much larger decline than for White farmers. 在黑人农场所有权的巅峰时期, in 1920, 925,708名黑人农场主在美国经营，占农场主总数的七分之一. 其中近四分之一是土地所有者，总共拥有大约15个.500万英亩. 今天，美国只有48697名黑人农场主，也就是每72名农场主中就有1名黑人农场主. 他们的农场共有4个.700万英亩的土地，大约是2000万英亩.占美国耕地的5%.
研究ers and others have attributed much of the land loss to a complex web of factors driven by structural racism in US society and in the federal government that is present to this day. 黑人土地和财富流失的一个未被充分认识的原因是继承人的财产, property passed through generations without a clear title that assigns ownership to the current group of heirs. The impact of heirs’ property is so great that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) called heirs’ property “the leading cause of Black involuntary land loss."
对于继承人的财产，多个继承人——甚至几十个继承人——拥有财产的部分权益. 任何关于土地的决定, 例如清除标题或其使用, 需要得到所有继承人的同意, 但单一继承人可以通过法院系统强制分割出售. 这种制度直接导致土地流失, as predatory speculators find heirs willing to sell their shares and then benefit from court-ordered auction sales below market price. 除了, 继承人的财产阻止了财富的积累和投资，因为, 除其他原因外, 缺乏获得联邦贷款和资金的渠道, 比如为农场保护提供资金.
继承人的财产对黑人家庭影响很大. 不幸的是, 由于研究的诸多障碍, 黑人农民和地主继承财产的实际流行情况尚不清楚. 然而，现有研究的外推表明，1.600万英亩，价值6美元.60亿年, are locked in heirs’ property across the 365 counties of the "Black Belt" area in 10 states. 2023年发布的一项新研究表明，在南方的11个州，有496994个包裹(5万美元)被包裹.占地300万英亩，价值近420亿美元)，可能会成为继承人的财产.
其他 studies focus on the prevalence of heirs’ property among small groups of Black farmers and landowners. 虽然很难概括, these studies provide a sobering extrapolation for the potential extent of Black farmers’ land in heirs’ property. 例如, one study shows that more than a third of surveyed Black farmers were 受继承人财产影响. 这可能意味着除以10,000 Black farmers who own all or some of their land may be experiencing heirs’ property issues. But not all landowners farm; some landowners may be actively prevented from farming by heirs’ property. 在另一个研究中, 超过一半的黑人地主将他们的土地部分或全部锁定在继承人的财产中, 其中一些土地所有者没有有效地利用他们的土地，或者根本没有.
Heirs’ property requires prompt action by the federal government to address past injustices and prevent future injustices. 美国农业部应该咨询那些曾经这样做过的人, 或者现在是, 受继承人财产影响, 以及以社区为基础的组织和深入研究这一主题的学者. The following policy recommendations are only foundational—they must be informed by lived experience, 经常评估, 并进行调整，有效地为黑人农民和土地所有者服务. 我们建议国会采取以下行动:
直接向黑人农民和土地所有者提供资金，以解决继承人的财产问题. Congress should provide accessible funding directly to heirs’ property landowners in the form of grants. 任何以贷款为基础的计划都应与贷款减免条款相结合. 这可能包括通过保护项目取消贷款.
要求美国农业部提供一种简便易行的方式来建立农场编号. USDA programs such as loans offered by the Farm Service Agency (金融服务管理局) and 农村发展, as well as cost-share programs offered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Forest Service, 要求农场编号, but landowners and farmers with land in heirs’ property can face many barriers when trying to get one. A nonburdensome path to establishing farm numbers would render heirs’ property owners eligible for such programs.
Demand equity in the administration of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for farmers with heirs’ property. Heirs’ property producers have historically faced difficulties accessing funds from EQIP and the CSP because of competition with other producers who do not have clouded titles. NRCS应该专门为继承人的财产生产者建立一个资金池.
扩大参与美国农业部实施的住房项目的机会. This expansion should include both single-family-housing direct home loans and a guaranteed loan program, as well as a home repair program to allow co-tenants residing on heirs’ property to maintain adequate housing.
Fund community-based organizations that provide mediation and legal services for Black farmers and landowners. Community-based organizations have decades of experience supporting 黑色的土地所有者 and farmers in their fight against land loss. 专门的多年期资金将使服务得以持续和扩大, 包括在产权解决诉讼中直接担任法律代表, 遗产规划, 家庭中介, 以及法律建议.
资助黑人土地流失的跨学科研究, 包括评估继承人财产规模的研究. 应该拨出资金，研究继承人的财产如何被贴上标签, 简化数据收集和分析, 并量化黑人土地流失对家庭和社区的影响. 研究 and extension funding should be directed to 1890 Land-Grant Institutions and to experts in food and agriculture who are Black, 土著, 或者其他有色人种.
建立继承人财产教育、研究和推广办公室. 全国各地, 当地的美国农业部办公室，包括林务局, 金融服务管理局, 农村发展, 和nrcs——正在对继承人的财产采取各种行动. 确保这些服务得到协调, 继承人财产教育办公室, 研究, 和外联部应该在美国农业部部长办公室成立, 或在民权事务助理部长办公室.
Provide incentives to states that have adopted the Uniform Partition of Heirs’ Property Act (UPHPA). UPHPA为共有租户提供法律保护, 包括优先购买权, 这样他们就可以第一次出价了. The act also includes a requirement to sell the property for a reasonable market value and provides farmers with a less-burdensome path to obtaining farm numbers.
为黑人新农民的进入提供便利, 土著, 以及其他有色人种通过资助进入这个行业. 考虑到联邦政府和法律体系所犯下的历史不公, 以及暴力的历史, 和恐吓, 黑色的土地所有者, the USDA should provide additional reparative payments to beginning and continuing Black farmers who still encounter difficulties in accessing and keeping land, 为他们的运营提供资金, 并接受适当的技术援助.