Keeping it in the Family Program
The UAPB Small Farm Program promotes sustainable forestry for African American landowners. In 1910, approximately 19 million farm acres were owned by African Americans. Over time, these landowners witnessed a substantial decrease in their landholdings, often due to discrimination and other predatory practices. By 2017, African Americans possessed fewer than 3.8 million acres of farmland. To begin to address this dramatic loss, the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities created the Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention (SFLR) program in 2012. Sustainable forestry provides a way for African American landowners to maintain their deep and often ancestral ties with the land, while at the same time derive income from their holdings and keep it in the family for generations to come.
The Rise of Keeping it in the Family
The pilot SFLR project, which included sites in North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama, quickly began to exceed expectations and the search began for additional program partners. In response to this call, the UAPB Small Farm Program launched the Keeping it in the Family (KIITF) SFLR program in 2016. KIITF initially targeted seven counties in southwest Arkansas. Today, KIITF serves 18 central and southern counties. The project promotes intergenerational land retention, empowering African American landowners through technical assistance from a dedicated team trained in forestry management, conservation and financial assistance. The KIITF team also provides legal resources to address landowners’ property challenges.
KIITF serves landowners in Sevier, Little River, Miller, Lafayette, Hempstead, Howard, Pike, Nevada, Columbia, Ouachita, Clark, Dallas, Union, Bradley, Cleveland, Calhoun, Drew and Jefferson Counties. The project's team members conduct site visits, develop written forest management plans, offer technical support from a certified forester or conservationist and provide legal resources to over 235 landowners. Collectively, participants own 13,338 acres, including 10,371 forest acres.
The UAPB Small Farm Program partners with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture - Forestry Division, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts and the Silas H. Hunt Community Development Corporation. It has also partnered with the Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Land Community Development Corporation in providing legal outreach and assistance to landowners.
The SFLR Network partners include American Forest Foundation, Natural Resources Conservation Service, JPB Foundation and the U. S. Forest Service.