Baldwin joins bill to forgive student loan debt for beginning farmers

Wisconsin State Farmer

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) on Monday to introduce the Student Loan Forgiveness for Farmers and Ranchers Act, legislation to create a loan forgiveness program for beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as women, veteran, and minority farmers.

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin

Student loan debt is a major hurdle for beginning farmers, and this legislation would serve as an incentive for farmers to enter—and stay—in the agricultural industry, and strengthen opportunities to grow successful businesses. According to a survey by the National Young Farmers Coalition, the average student loan debt for a young farmer is $35,660, while 72% of young farmers hold a loan to finance their farm or ranch, at an average of $208,885.

“Right now, the cost of starting and maintaining a new farm is too expensive for many young farmers, ranchers and their families, who are often already struggling to pay off existing debt,”said Senator Baldwin. “By helping Wisconsinites pay off their student loans, more new farmers and ranchers will be able to pursue careers in agriculture – creating jobs in the heartland, producing Made in WI products and keeping our rural communities strong.”

“Starting and maintaining a new farm is tough, expensive work. Too often, young farmers are saddled with thousands in student loan debt and can’t afford to make the investments necessary for success. Connecticut farms are key to the health of our rural communities and the future of food security, and this legislation would help more people start and stay in farming,” said Senator Murphy.