FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 2, 2015
Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
WASHINGTON (June 2, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson today applauded the introduction of the Young Famer Success Act by Representatives Chris Gibson, R-New York, and Joe Courtney, D-Connecticut, a bill that will add farmers to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
“Across the country the average age of farmers is increasing,” noted Johnson. “The agriculture sector needs new and beginning farmers to offset farmers transitioning out of agriculture, but the hurdles for new and beginning farmers have only become higher as students are graduating with more and more loan debt. NFU applauds the introduction of the Young Farmer Success Act, which will aid the transition of the next generation of farmers into agriculture.”
Johnson noted that the Class of 2014 graduated with an average debt of $33,000. It is part of an upward trend in which each successive class surpasses the last with a higher average of student loan indebtedness.
“It is widely acknowledged that student debt has ripples across the economy, including within agriculture, which already grapples with a higher level of indebtedness,” said Johnson. “The Young Farmer Success Act would add farmers to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, an existing program that currently includes professions such as government service, teaching and nursing.
“There should be no doubt that farmers provide a public service. Ensuring that the next generation of new and beginning farmers can enter agricultural is of critical importance to our nation’s food security and wellbeing,” he said.
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.