Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) has co-sponsored the Young Farmer Success Act, a bipartisan bill aimed at easing the financial burden on young farmers and supporting the future of American agriculture. The bill proposes that young farmers become eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which would help them manage their student loan debt and incentivize them to enter the agriculture workforce.
According to statistics, the average age of a farmer in the United States is 57 years old. This alarming trend could have significant implications for the future of American agriculture. As the number of U.S. farmers over 65 continues to outnumber those under 35 by 6-to-1, the decline of small farms is becoming more prevalent. The Young Farmer Success Act represents a significant effort to reverse this trend and create incentives for young people to enter the agriculture industry.
The bill’s proponents argue that without farm and ranch workers, the country would lose its ability to provide safe and affordable food to citizens and the world. The Young Farmer Success Act aims to provide support for individuals who want to work in agriculture and enhance the nation’s long-term viability and national security. By offering student loan forgiveness, young farmers will be better equipped to make crucial investments in farming equipment and start new farming businesses.
“With agriculture as the number one economic driver in the state of Illinois, the success of our rural communities will depend on the next generation of family farmers,” said Congresswoman Budzinski. “As the representative for some of our nation’s leading agricultural education institutions, I’m proud to help introduce bipartisan legislation to make farm and ranch workers eligible for public service student loan forgiveness. This is a commonsense way to help bring more young people into the ag workforce and keep our rural economies strong.”
The bill’s supporters have drawn additional support from organizations representing farmers and ranchers nationwide, including the Illinois Farm Bureau (ILFB), the National Farmers Union, and the National Corn Growers Association. The ILFB, in particular, sees the Young Farmer Success Act as a commonsense way to preserve the nation’s agricultural economy and keep rural economies strong.