Seeing that urban farming is on the rise, and rural farming is (hopefully) getting stronger since the farm to table movement again, there are those who are asking how we can help young farmers to stick with their chosen field. A BRO reader has suggested that one way we can alleviate financial burden upon young farmers is for states to get behind the New Farmer Student Loan Assistance Program.
Farming is hard enough to begin with. It might be one of the most rewarding jobs around, but it’s also one of the most grueling. Not to mention the competition from large corporate farming interests. For years, it was nearly impossible to attract young people to farms, but these days there is a new calling.
The New York State Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program, for example, provides student loan repayments (up to $50,000 over the course of the program) to individuals who obtain an undergraduate degree and commit to operating a farm in New York State, on a full-time basis, for five years.
Unfortunately, most young people who are entering into the farming workforce are already weighted down by student debt. That’s a big problem, because for most people working a farm is not the best way to pay back mounting loans. At the same time, it’s important to get younger people to work the farm lands, so what is one to do?
National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) might have the answer. Seeing that the need for young farmers is so great, one of the best ways to get them out tending the fields is to alleviate their student loan burden. The issue is being addressed on a federal and state level (read here), and is making progress at this moment in time. There is a movement underway, and the NYFC is looking for young and aspiring farmers to take action. Click the link above to find out what the future holds for you.
Photo: National Young Farmers Coalition