New partnership to help Black farmers with heirs’ property barriers

LEAP, Deere help CHPP tackle ownership hurdles 

The LEAP Coalition has announced a new partnership with the Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation (CHPP) that will strengthen its commitment to eliminating heirs’ property barriers and advancing the lives and livelihoods of Black farmers. 

The partnership, which will expand outreach and resources to Black farmers, was announced Thursday, Nov. 17, in a news release by John Deere, one of the driving forces behind the LEAP (Legislation, Education, Advocacy, and Production Systems) Coalition.

Launched in 2020, the LEAP Coalition was established by John Deere, the National Black Growers Council (NBGC), and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) to improve the livelihoods of Black farmers – with a particular emphasis on the preservation of heirs’ property in rural communities throughout the United States. 

John Deere

By joining forces with the CHPP, the coalition expands its capacity to address heirs’ property rights and raise awareness about this critical issue, according to the release. 

“Heirs’ property remains a major hurdle, precluding access to vital resources needed by our country’s Black farmers and landowners. The unique legal and financial pathway to clear title is often overwhelmingly difficult to navigate alone,” said Marc Howze, senior advisor, Office of the Chairman, Deere & Company. “The Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation has been instrumental in clearing ownership titles for many South Carolina families and we welcome the center as a LEAP partner.”

As part of the new partnership, Moline-based John Deere has made a further investment to expand the CHPP’s resources and broaden its reach to help families and landowners gain clear title to their land.

“This partnership underscores our commitment to ensuring Black farmers and underserved landowners have access to the vital resources they need to protect and preserve their property for future generations,” Mr. Howze said in the release. “We look forward to reaching more communities across the nation.”

The nonprofit CHPP works with underserved families in South Carolina to protect heirs’ property and to promote the sustainable use of land providing increased economic benefit to historically underserved landowners. The center provides legal education and direct legal services, helping families reach agreement or clear title to family land and probate estates. 

“For generations, heirs’ property issues have been a pervasive contributor to Black involuntary land loss, preventing families from building generational wealth,” added Dr. Jennie Stephens, the center’s CEO. “Our alliance with the LEAP Coalition reinforces our resolve to spread awareness and help our local communities protect and sustain their family legacies.”

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