Howard – US Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-15) is among representatives across the country who have introduced the Small Farmers Success Act.
The bipartisan bill was introduced this week by Thompson and Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-02), Monica De La Cruz (TX-15), and Nicky Budzinski (IL-13) that would help young American farmers manage their student loan debt from Through they qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.
The act is to try to preserve it
America’s agricultural economy and ease the financial burden on small farmers, according to a statement from Thompson’s office.
The average age of a farmer in the United States is 57 years. We must encourage our youth to enter the agricultural workforce and cultivate the next generation of farmers and ranchers,” Thompson said. “Without farm and farm workers, our country will lose the ability to provide safe, affordable food to our citizens and the world. I am proud to introduce the Small Farmers Success Act with Representatives Courtney, De La Cruz, and Budzinski. This bill provides incentives for individuals who want to work in agriculture, boosting both our national security and the long-term sustainability of our nation.”
Chris Hoffman, head of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, offered his support for the bill.
“As a first-generation farmer, I can relate to the struggles young prospective farmers and ranchers face when looking to pursue a career in agriculture. The 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture showed a national median age of 57 for producers, while the average Penn State was 65. Agriculture is the backbone of Penn State’s economy, so it is critical that we support legislation that promotes lower barriers for younger generations in the industry,” He said. “We recognize that one of the most significant financial burdens farmers and ranchers face is outstanding student loans because agricultural industry salaries are not the highest paid, yet their jobs are essential to food and national security. A strong agricultural workforce for years to come is essential because American families depend on producers We have to provide them with food, fiber, and fuel. For these reasons, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is proud to support the Small Farmer Success Act.”
Other representatives who introduced the bill on Wednesday offered their own comments as well:
“We need to support a new generation of farmers now more than ever. The number of our small farms is declining, and the life expectancy of American farmers is rising. There is no doubt that experience is important to any agricultural business, but when American farmers outnumber over 65 those under 35 at a ratio of 6 to 1, this is a trend we need to reverse,” Representative Courtney said. Susan Mitchell of Cloverleigh Farm in Connecticut has been the driving force behind this bill. She knows how student loan debt can prevent a start-up farmer from returning from crucial investments in things like farm equipment, and our bipartisan bill will take some of that weight off of their budgets through the costly stages of opening a new farming business. The Small Farmer Success Act will give the new American farming generation an opportunity to build a life on the farm for themselves and their families.”
“The family farm is no longer a staple of rural communities nationwide. To prevent further loss of family farms, we must act to encourage young men and women to pursue the family business,” Rep. De La Cruz said. “I am proud to co-sponsor the Young Farmer Success Act, which allows farmers to get student loan forgiveness just like teachers and other professionals dedicated to public service. After all, if Feeding America isn’t a public service, then what is? I hope this gets passed.” The bill was quickly passed into the House and Senate and signed into law.”
“With agriculture being the number one economic driver in Illinois, the very viability of our rural communities will depend on the next generation of family farmers.” Budzinski said. “As a representative of some of our country’s leading agricultural education institutions, I am proud to help advance bipartisan legislation to make farm and ranch workers eligible for student loan forgiveness for public service. This is a commonsense way to help bring more young people into the agricultural workforce and keep our rural economies strong.” .
Representatives of various agricultural associations, from produce to dairy products, also praised the bill.
“The International Fresh Produce Association, especially our member farmers, we salute Congressman Joe Courtney and Chairman Glenn.”GT“Thompson to Reintroduce the Young Farmer Success Act,” said Robert Guenther, chief public policy officer at the International Fresh Produce Association. “This legislation is investing in the future of agriculture, something our industry and all Americans desperately need. Food security is national security, and as we’ve seen during the pandemic, our farmers are the frontline workers vital to ensuring our food security. As the financial burdens farmers face in operating their businesses grow, it will help This investment in educating them alleviates part of that burden and opens doors for more people to enter the field of agriculture.”
“We commend Chairman JT Thompson (R-PA) and Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT) for reintroducing the bipartisan Young Farmer Success Act. This important legislation will give a boost to dedicated young farmers early in their careers as they begin to feed families Here at home and around the world,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Association.
“For our farm and food system to thrive, we need a new generation of farmers. However, among the many barriers to success for young farmers, student debt looms large. The Young Farmer Success Act addresses both of these pressing challenges by allowing farmers and small farmers to join the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Farm Aid is proud to support this bipartisan bill and recognize that farming is truly a public service.” said Jennifer Fahey, Farm Aid’s director of communications.
The Young Farmers Success Act has received additional support from organizations representing farmers and ranchers across the country, including the Illinois Farmers Bureau (ILFB), the National Farmers Federation, and the National Corn Growers Association.