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Sixteenth Section Land Management

Marilyn Johnson

Marilyn Johnson

Manager, 16th Section Land
Maverick Harrison

Maverick Harrison

Coordinator, 16th Section

Office Address
2oo School Road
Brandon, MS 39042

Phone: 601-824-5147
Fax: 601-824-9897

Mailing Address
Rankin County School District
Attn: Sixteenth Section
P.O. Box 1359
Brandon, MS 39043

Rankin County School District Sixteenth Section Lands

The Secretary of State serves as the supervisory Trustee overseeing management and leasing of more than 640,000 acres of 16th section public school trust lands by 101 local school districts.  Title to Sixteenth Section Land is vested in the State of Mississippi, in trust for the support of public education. Laws enacted by the State Legislature place the  jurisdiction and control over leasing and day to day management of the lands in the hands of the local school board.

Procedure To Lease Sixteenth Section lands in the Rankin County School District

You may email or contact the Sixteenth Section Lands for the Rankin County School District at the Contact Information listed above.  For all other County School District contacts and answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding 16th Section Lands, leasing and management, you may visit the Secretary of State website at www.sos.ms.gov.

Sales/Purchases of Homes or Businesses on Sixteenth Section Lands

The Sixteenth Section Lands office  should be notified as soon as a contract for sale is executed on any residence or commercial property on Sixteenth Section Lands.   You can email the Sixteenth Section Lands Department at the Contact Information listed above with the following information:  property location, name and address of sellers, full names, phone number and contact information of purchasers as they are taking title (needs to agree with their loan documents) and the name and telephone number of the closing attorney.  The Sixteenth Section Lands office will prepare the appropriate documents, a Quit Claim Deed, Assignment of Lease or if necessary a new Lease contract.  Quit Claim Deeds and Assignments of Leases must be approved by both the Board of Education and the Rankin County Board of Supervisors.  New Leases must be approved by both Boards and the Secretary of State.

Appraisals To Establish Annual Lease Fees/Rentals

Appraisals are performed to establish the annual lease/ground rental fees in accordance with Statutory requirements.  Approval of the rental value is by the same statute vested in the “board of supervisors” with express provisions to be followed in the event the board of supervisors “declines to approve the rental value.” There is a $40.00 recording fee, payable to Rankin County School District, for recording the Deed at the Chancery Clerk’s office.

Anytime a deed on 16th Section Land is recorded in land records, you are required to go to the Tax Assessor's office the following January or February to fill out new homestead exemption forms and pay taxes on the land as well as any structure on the land.

Payment Issues

When speaking to your mortgage company regarding your Sixteenth Section annual lease payment, please refer to it as a "ground rent."  Mortgage companies outside the State of Mississippi may not be familiar with Sixteenth Section Lands, but they are familiar with the term "ground rentals."  Sixteenth Section Land annual lease payments are paid in advance annually to the Rankin County School District and are due on the anniversary date of when the lease begins, so they can be due any day of the year.  This payment is not part of your ad valorem taxes (city, county, school district taxes and/or any other assessments), which are paid to the Tax Collector of Rankin County.

To Locate Leases, Assignments, etc.

All documents are scanned and listed in land records at the Chancery Clerk’s office. You can also access aerial tax maps through the Tax Assessor’s link.  Sixteenth Section leases and assignments are also scanned and available for view at the Secretary of State’s website. Bid packets for all counties advertising hunting and fishing leases are listed at the Secretary of State’s website.        

Hunting and Fishing Leases

The Secretary of State and Mississippi Forestry Commission work cooperatively with the local school districts to manage their timberlands. To find out what lands will be available for a hunting and fishing lease, you can perform a search on the Secretary of State’s website by following these directions:  Go to www.sos.ms.gov,  click on “public lands”, then click on “16th Section Lands” and select “Leases” under 16th Section Lands.  The “bid notices” will show all hunting and fishing leases currently being advertised (hunting and fishing leases are advertised for three consecutive weeks, the first being at least twenty-one days before the bid opening).

If you select “Search Leases”, a menu will open where you can put in the name of the county (there is usually more than one school district within a county), then select “Forestry” under Classification.  Enter current dates/year and all hunting and fishing leases that are expiring within a year will be viewable and will reflect the location, name of the lessee, the school district, acreage and what is currently being paid per year.  As long as a current lessee submits a bid for a hunting and fishing lease, they are given the opportunity to match the high bid and be awarded a new lease for another five years. 


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