Gibson introduces young farmer legislation


WASHINGTON – Congressman Christopher
Gibson has introduced legislation that would grow the ranks of farmers
and safeguard American agriculture.

The bipartisan Young Farmer Success Act of 2015 was introduced with original
co-sponsor Congressman Joe Courtney of Connecticut. It would help new
and beginning farmers manage their student loan debt by adding them to
the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

“Much like teachers, doctors, nurses, and government employees who
are already eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program,
farmers are public servants,” Gibson said. “Our farmers not
only produce our food and fiber, they protect the landscape and generate
substantial economic activity in every state. A self-reliant nation requires
a vibrant agricultural sector, but loan debt creates a significant barrier
to getting started in farming.”

Gibson said the legislation “empowers young people to attend college
and embrace this important vocation.”

Under the proposed law, a farmer would see the balance of his or her student
loans forgiven after making 10 years of income-based student loan payments,
freeing capital for farmers to acquire land and equipment.

The bill requires a qualified farm to earn a minimum of $35,000 in revenue
for a farmer to be eligible for loan forgiveness to prevent the program
from being used by hobby farmers or others who do not perform a public

“Student loan is one of the most serious obstacles that new farmers
face,” said Lindsey Lusher Shute of Clermont, leader of the National
Young Farmers Coalition. “This legislation will make farm careers
possible for thousands of young Americans.”


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