Wisconsin bill aims to give farmers break on student loans

· March 10, 2017

A new Wisconsin bill aims to reimburse up to $30,000 of student debt for those who commit to operating a small or medium-sized farm in Wisconsin for at least five years.

Rep. Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit), along with Senator Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) recently introduced The New Farmer Student Loan Assistance Program in the Wisconsin legislature.

“Agriculture is central to Wisconsin’s heritage and to our economy, largely due to the efforts of our farmers,” Rep. Spreitzer said in a recent release. “We must look for ways to encourage a sustainable future for farming in Wisconsin. In order to continue Wisconsin’s strong tradition of family-supporting farms that feed our state and beyond, we must recruit and retain new farmers from diverse backgrounds.”

In Wisconsin, 70% of students graduating with a bachelor’s degree borrow to fund their education. Upon graduation, the average debt is between $30,000 and $32,000 for those attending public and private institutions, respectively.

“I haven’t met a single farmer that has disagreed with the idea that we need to get young people back on the land and carry our ag legacy forward in Wisconsin,” said Monticello native and young farmer, Jacob Marty, who raises beef, pork, chickens, and sheep as the 6th generation on his family’s farm. “I know many talented young people that would love to farm, but it isn’t feasible for them because of student loan debt. Aiding young people to pursue their farming dreams would reinvigorate our agricultural community with new ideas, energy, and stewardship.”

 


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