Roots of the Soil: Land Succession Issues among African American Farm Families

Webinar held 8, 2020
CLICK HERE to access an archived video of the program.

When we consider the word “preparedness” situations such as being ready for severe weather, having an emergency plan for our family or farm, or maintaining a stock of food and water for an extended power outage or snowstorm usually come to mind. However, a vital and often overlooked part of farm preparedness is having a plan for property and business succession from generation to generation. African American farm families are especially affected by this issue.

Too often, family farms or businesses are lost or negatively impacted due to the lack of succession planning, and the ensuing challenges that result when one generation passes away. A large percentage of African American-owned farmland is classified as “heirs property”. This term refers to property that has simply been passed from generation to generation, with no clear title transfer. Over time, determining actual ownership of the land becomes problematic, and creates challenges for family members attempting to secure loans or access to government agricultural programs.

On July 8, the Legacy Innovation Farming Economics (LIFE) Project hosted the first in a series of webinars to examine the land succession challenges faced by African American farm families, and provide strategies and resources to address the issues. The LIFE Project is a collaborative effort of the Peoples Foundation, Legacy Farming and Health Group, and the National AgrAbility Project, and is sponsored by USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers (2501) grant program.

Topics covered during the July 8 webinar included:
– Historical review of African American farm ownership
– Challenges faced by African American farm families in retaining land for
– future generations
– Personal perspectives from a multi-generation farm family
– Threats to African American farmland ownership
– Importance of keeping land over money
– Strategies and steps for landowners to protect their legacy

– John Jamerson – founder and project manager of Legacy Taste of the Garden and Legacy Farming and Health Group
– Denise Jamerson – Fifth generation farmer from Lyles Station, Indiana and Operations Director for Legacy Taste of Garden LLC
– Frank Tayler – President of Winston County Self-Help Cooperative in Greensboro, Mississippi.

An archived recording of the July 8 workshop, along with copies of each presenter’s slides, can be access at Or CLICK HERE to go directly to the Youtube video of the program.

The next program in the series is scheduled for August 26, 3:00-4:00 p.m. EDT. The Purdue Institute for Family Business, led by Dr. Maria Marshall and Renee Wiatt, will be conducting this program to highlight resources and strategies for farm succession planning. Please visit for details and registration information.

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