U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut has reintroduced the Student Loan Forgiveness for Farmers and Ranchers Act (S. 2168), a bill designed to create a loan forgiveness for new farmers and ranchers.
According to Murphy, one in four principal farm operators in Connecticut can be defined as a "beginning farmer," which means they have been operating a farm with less than 10 years of experience. The state recorded a 30% increase in beginning farmers between 2007 and 2012.
"Farmers are critical to Connecticut's economy and we should be doing everything possible to make it easier for anyone to enter the field," Murphy said. "As I travel across Connecticut, I consistently hear young people tell me that they want to stay in farming, but thousands of dollars in student loan debt holds them back. This bill will incentivize Connecticut's new farmers to plant crops, buy equipment, and grow their businesses."
Murphy added that he considered farming to be a form of public service and that "we should help those who want to help their communities." The rancher aspect of the bill comes from its co-sponsor, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico.
The bill was previously introduced in the 115th Congress, where it failed to gain traction. In this congressional session, the Young Farmers Success Act (H.R. 3232) was introduced in the House of Representatives on June 12.