Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SR0168
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Full Text of SR0168  102nd General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, Illinois is a rich agricultural state, home to
3over 1 million farmers and over 72,000 farms that grow fruits
4and vegetables and raise livestock; and
5    WHEREAS, Almost 50% of all land in the United States is set
6aside for farming, including 75% of all land in Illinois; and
7    WHEREAS, Farming is a vital part of the Illinois economy
8as it generates over $19 billion each year; and
9    WHEREAS, Farmers generally do not turn a profit from their
10work until they have been in the sector for several years,
11which makes this necessary profession a risky endeavor; and
12    WHEREAS, Student loan debt is on the rise, totaling over
13$1.5 trillion and creating an additional barrier for young
14farmers to make a living, leading many young people to steer
15away from farming as a profession; and
16    WHEREAS, The number of beginning farmers fell 20% between
172007 and 2012; and
18    WHEREAS, The average age of farmers in the United States
19is continually rising, climbing to over 58 in 2012 from 49 in



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11945, which means young farmers are disappearing from the
2economy; and
3    WHEREAS, The United States will see 66% of its
4farmer-owned land needing a transfer in ownership within the
5next 25 years; the United States also only added 1,220 young
6operators to its farming economy, which means there are not
7enough new farmers to handle the transfer of land that will
8need to take place; and
9    WHEREAS, Adding farmers to the Public Service Loan
10Forgiveness Program will create a pathway for young people
11with student debt to succeed in agriculture; and
12    WHEREAS, Farmers are critical to our nation's well-being
13as they produce the food we eat, steward nearly half the
14country's land, and support rural economies; therefore, be it
16ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we believe farming is
17an integral public service and that farmers constitute public
18service professionals; and be it further
19    RESOLVED, That we urge the U.S. Congress to expand the
20Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program so that it includes
21farming as an applicable career for loan forgiveness; and be



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1it further
2    RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be
3delivered to the President of the United States, the U.S.
4Senate Majority Leader, the U.S. Senate Minority Leader, the
5U.S. Speaker of the House, the U.S. House of Representatives
6Minority Leader, and all members of the Illinois Congressional