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Smith backing legislation to boost young farmers

U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) have reintroduced the Student Loan Forgiveness for Farmers and Ranchers Act, legislation to create a loan forgiveness program for beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as women, veteran, and minority farmers.

According to a press release, student loan debt is a major hurdle for beginning farmers, and this legislation would incentivize farmers to enter—and stay—in the agricultural industry and strengthen opportunities to grow successful businesses.

The average age of a farmer in the United States is 58 years old. Smith and Murphy’s legislation intends to reduce barriers for young, diverse farmers hoping to take over as the current generation of farmers and producers begin to retire.

Smith also leads the Increasing Land Access, Security, and Opportunities Act, legislation that would increase access to capital for underserved farmers, boost training and economic opportunity for beginner farmers, and help make land more affordable for young and Black, Indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC) farmers.

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