Purchasing farm land is expensive, especially for young people saddled with student loan debt. The Young Farmers Coalition is working to add farmers to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
The proposal is that after 10 years of full-time service in agriculture and on-time, income-based loan repayment, farmers in the program will be eligible for the margins of their loans to be forgiven. “We got it introduced bipartisan in the U.S. House last summer,” said Kate Greenberg, the Young Farmers’ Western Organizer. “Now we’re in need of a Republican senator to introduce the bill in the Senate.”
Lenders look at applicants with student loan debt and feel reluctant to lend them money to start their own farm. “We do think farmers should be taking risks, and debt is often part of building a business,” said Greenberg. “But with this much debt, you can’t even take that first step.” Lenders don’t trust that you’ll be able to make your payments.