Unsplash/Annie Spratt

Farm Policy

Plowing up old student loans. A bill reintroduced Wednesday in Congress, expected to enjoy bipartisan support, would add young farmers and ranchers to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. If passed, the Young Farmer Success Act (H.R. 1060) would make farmers and ranchers eligible for student loan forgiveness after ten years of payment. This benefit is already enjoyed by nurses, teachers, and nonprofit and government employees.

“The skyrocketing cost of higher education and the growing burden of student loan debt are presenting major obstacles for young farmers.”

Ever seen those “farming is public service” bumper stickers? Those come from the National Young Farmer Coalition, an advocacy group that’s been pushing for the addition. The Young Farmer Success Act (H.R. 2590) was introduced in Congress in 2015 but never made it to a vote.

Citing the average age of farming professionals (58) and the decline of new farmers entering the field (physically and figuratively), Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT) praised the bill in a press release: “The skyrocketing cost of higher education and the growing burden of student loan debt are presenting major obstacles for young farmers,” he said.

H. Claire Brown

Claire Brown is a staff writer for The New Food Economy focusing on food policy and the environment. Her reporting has won awards from the Newswomen’s Club of New York and the New York Press Club. She is based in Brooklyn. She can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter at @hclaire_brown.

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