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Momentum builds for Young Farmer Success Act (H.R. 1060)
Bipartisan effort attracts support of over one hundred national groups seeking to address the shortfall of young farmers in the U.S.
HUDSON, NY (April 6, 2017) — Over 100 agricultural, business, and nonprofit organizations have signed a letter urging Congress to support the Young Farmer Success Act (H.R.1060), a bipartisan measure that would address the growing issue of student debt among America’s young farmers. The mounting support was announced by Andrew Bahrenburg, National Policy Director for the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC).
“Groups from all over the country are calling on Congress to support the Young Farmer Success Act because they know the future of our national food system depends upon developing a new generation of farmers,” said Bahrenburg. “America needs young farmers to support our rural economies and feed our citizens for generations to come. Young farmer support must be a national priority.”
In addition to the National Young Farmers Coalition, the organizations signing the letter—which was addressed to the Chair and Ranking Members of the House Committee on Education and Workforce, and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions—include the Family Farm Alliance, National Farmers Union, National FFA Organization, and the American Sustainable Business Council. (The full list of signatories can be found here).
Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), and John Faso (R-NY) are the lead sponsors of the Young Farmer Success Act.
The average age of the U.S. farmer is increasing, and farmers over the age of 65 outnumber farmers under the age of 35 by a margin of six to one. Young people are ready to farm, but student loan debt is one of the biggest barriers to entry and success in agricultural careers. The Young Farmer Success Act tackles this challenge by adding farmers to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Under this program, qualified full-time farmers would have the balance of their student loans forgiven after making ten years of income-based student loan payments. More information on the Young Farmer Success Act can be found here.
Committed to building a viable future for American agriculture, the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) is an advocacy network of farmers, ranchers, and consumers working to ensure that all young farmers have the chance to succeed. Visit NYFC on the web at www.youngfarmers.org, and on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.