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WCAX: Rep. Welch Wants College Loan Forgiveness for Farmers

June 19, 2017
In The News

RICHMOND, Vt. -

Vermont's lone congressman is pushing a bill to forgive college loan debt for farmers.

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vermont, would not handicap the proposal's chances of becoming law at a press conference Monday.

He did say farmers should be eligible for the same public service loan forgiveness options already open to teachers and police among others.

The goal is to ensure cash-flow issues don't keep young farmers like Keith Drinkwine from entering the field.

“Really making it accessible and doable for people who have the passion and want to be working and growing a business and living on the land is essential," said Drinkwine of Flatlander Farm.

Farming is tough enough, but Drinkwine says he needed to take on a second farming job in order for him and his wife to afford their college loan payments.

Under Welch's proposal, those who enter farming would pay loans back as a portion of their income.

If graduates stay in farming for 10 years and the bill's not paid, the rest would be forgiven by the federal government.