Farming Is Public Service: A Case to Add Farmers to the Public Student Loan Forgiveness Program

Farming, Food Systems, Policy & Advocacy


National Young Farmers Coalition

This survey, conducted by the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) in 2015, show that student loan debt is one of the key barriers preventing more would-be farmers and ranchers from entering agriculture. The report, Farming Is Public Service: A Case for Adding Farmers to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, found that 30% of survey respondents delayed or declined to enter agriculture because of their student loans, while an additional 48% said student loans prevented them from growing their business or obtaining credit to invest in their farm.

With thousands of American farmers nearing retirement (the average age of farmers is now 58), the U.S. needs at least 100,000 new farmers over the next two decades. This issue reaches beyond the farm and impacts rural economies because farmers are often the primary revenue generators and employers in rural areas.

Read the Report