Farmers are stewards of the land and cornerstones of our rural communities … Investing in our nation’s ability to put food on the table for our neighbors is not a partisan issue.”

 

A new bill has been present in the House that could change life for prospective farmers and could make the career path a more approachable one for young people across America. The Young Farmer Success Act (H.R. 1060) would introduce a new avenue for student loan forgiveness for farmers.

Last Congressional session a similar bill for loan forgiveness for young farmers had 13 co-sponsors, but eventually, the bill stalled. The bill was introduced by Rep. Joe Courtney (D—Connecticut) and is co-sponsored by Rep. John Faso (R—New York) and Rep. Glenn Thompson (R—Pennsylvania). The National Young Farmers Coalition, NYFC, is hoping to gain steam and build off of last year’s momentum to get past the House and submit a Senate version of the bill.

“We must help incentivize more young people to pursue careers in agriculture,” Thompson, who represents a largely rural district, said in an email. “Farmers are stewards of the land and cornerstones of our rural communities … Investing in our nation’s ability to put food on the table for our neighbors is not a partisan issue.”

In an NYFC survey in 2014, of over 700 members surveyed over half were farming but said they struggled to make their student loan payment. The survey also found the average debt of their members was $35,000 and almost 30 percent said they have either delayed farming or have decided on another career because of not being able to make their monthly student loan payments on a farming salary.

The farmer loan forgiveness would make farmers eligible after ten years of qualified payments. Much like Public Service Loan Forgiveness which offers loan forgiveness for people in the public service industry. Such as nursing, teaching, government, non-profit work, as examples.