Federation of Southern Cooperatives
Land Assistance Fund

The Federation/LAF Land Retention Project

     The purpose of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fundís (Federation) Land Retention Project is to provide land-related assistance to African-American landowners to reverse the alarming trend of African-American land loss.  The Projectís outreach activities include:

  1.      Land Retention Outreach Workshops.  The Project holds education workshops focused on such land retention topics as heir property ownership, estate planning, and land use planning.  These workshops target farmers, rural landowners who are not agricultural producers, and service providers like cooperative extension staff and federal agency outreach staff persons.  The Project collaborates with federal agencies, 1890 land grant institutions, other similarly focused community based organizations, and local, private citizens who are considered leaders in their communities to coordinate such workshops.

The following educational materials were developed and reproduced in collaboration with the USDA-Risk Management Agency and Southern University Law Center:

        What Every Landowner Should Know brochures.  Brochures are available to the Federationís membership on Tax Sales, Wills, How to Find a Deed, Managing Your Forest Land to Benefit You[1], Conducting a Successful Timber Sale[2]

        Land Loss Prevention Manuals.  The Land Loss Prevention Manual provides landowners with comprehensible, state-specific information on the emerging legal risk management issues listed above.  The manual also provides landowners with a resource contact list of federal and state agency programs, and supplemental forms.

        The Land Loss Prevention Manual: Train-the-Trainer Manual.  This manual provides state-specific information on the same legal issues; however, it is written to provide service providers with information to share with their constituency.  These manuals provide information on those issues that impact sustained rural property ownership.

2.      Landowner Intake.  Landowners who have questions, concerns, or land-related problems call in to speak with a Land Retention specialist.  The specialist completes an intake and completes an initial assessment to determine how the Federation can assist the caller in resolving his/her issue.

3.      Attorney Referral Network.  The Project has an attorney referral network.  The network consists of attorneys, primarily sole practitioners, to whom the Project can refer landowners

to in the event it is determined they are need of legal assistance.  Representation is not guaranteed, however, the Project is currently looking at how it can develop a team of attorneys on stand-by who have legal expertise in the common land-related legal issues the Federation membership often encounter.

4.      Summer Legal Externship Program.  For the past four years, the Project has had a summer externship program for law students.  The purpose of this program is to expose law students to the issues faced by farmers, including rural land loss.  Since its inception, the program has had 2-3 externs each summer.


The success of the project is due in part to the strong collaboratives it has established with federal agencies, 1890 land grant institutions, private attorneys, and local communities.  Our long list of partners and collaborators include:

        Federal Agencies:  Risk Management Agency, Farm Service Agency, National Resource & Conservation Service, Rural Development, the National Appeals Division, Alabama Forestry Commission, and the Georgia Forestry Commission

        Community Based Organizations:  Arkansas Farm & Land Development Corporation, Black Family Land Trust, American Farmland Trust, Farmers Legal Action Group, African-American Family Farmer

        1890 Land Grant Institutions

o       Alabama:  Alabama A&M University, Tuskegee University

o       Georgia:   Fort Valley State University

o       Louisiana:  Southern Universityís Agricultural Research & Extension Center, Southern University Law Center

o       Mississippi:  Alcorn State University, Mississippi Valley State University

o       South Carolina:  South Carolina State University

o       Texas:  Prairie View State University and Landowners Association of Texas

For More Information on the Land Retention Project, or to order materials:

Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund

Attn: The Land Retention Project
2769 Church Street, East Point, Georgia  30344
Phone:  (404) 765-0991
Fax:  (404) 765-9178

[1] Contributed by the Federationís Black Belt Legacy Forestry Program

[2] Contributed by the Federationís Black Belt Legacy Forestry Program


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