Lawmakers at the U.S. Capitol have introduced the Young Farmer Success Act, a bill aimed at forgiving student loan debt for young individuals pursuing careers in farming and ranching.
If passed, the legislation would make young farmers and ranchers eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF), incentivizing their entry into the agricultural sector. The National Young Farmers Coalition has expressed support for the bill, emphasizing the importance of relieving the burden of student loan debt for aspiring farmers.
To qualify for loan forgiveness, farms or ranches must generate annual gross revenue from agricultural product sales equal to or exceeding $35,000. The bill aims to assist young farmers by facilitating their pursuit of higher education without the financial strain of student loans.
According to findings from the 2022 National Young Farmer Survey, 78.5% of young farmers possess at least an associate's degree. However, 38% of young farmers struggle with student loan debt, hindering their ability to grow their farm businesses or access additional capital. The survey also revealed that student loan debt presents a significant challenge for 45% of young Black farmers compared to 24.6% of white young farmers.