I’m Scarlett Terry and I’m currently an Agricultural Science student and doing part-time as a web content specialist. I love travelling and seeing different kinds of landscapes.
Student loans have been haunting graduates from all disciplines. While student loans do guarantee that quality education can be attained, it is very difficult to settle, especially for those who end up in jobs that do not pay well in the early stages.
This is especially true for graduates of Agriculture. While those who get into Agriculture usually do it for the passion of farming, the reality is that farming is unable to provide the financial needs of its practitioners. And with obligations such as student debts, the interest in Agriculture has definitely declined. It is therefore not a mystery why the average age of farmers is going up.
The struggle of Having Student Debt
Student debt is undeniably an aggravating factor as to why there are fewer and fewer young men and women who are interested in Agriculture. This is a pressing matter as the decrease of young farmers is endangering the future of food security. There are other factors that are playing their part such as the reduction of agricultural land and the corresponding increase in price, as well as the need for upfront investment for the needed equipment.
Nevertheless, the burden of student debt adds even more challenge. It prevents young farmers from getting a financial assistance from banks to start their agricultural ventures, and it’s even worse if they had some trouble in keeping up with the payment schedule. True enough, student debt is a challenge that is affecting the field of agriculture.
Difficulties of being a New Farmer
Being a new farmer brings a lot of challenges. It’s like having your own business but with the need to grow your own products. There’s also the need for your seeds, your tools, and your equipment. You’ll also need to keep a stable water source, as well as decent irrigation.
There are other considerations too, such as the need for fertilizers. Conventional farming makes use of commercial fertilizers. Organic farmers, on the other hand, make use of natural fertilizers such as manure or compost.
Farming is indeed a challenging feat, and young farmers would need all the help they can get.
Something attributed to younger practitioners, sustainable farming considers the need for high production, but with little to no impact to the environment. Sustainable farming tries to replicate how nature grows crops and livestock, but of course, with the need to meet a high output.
Sustainable farming, although environmentally-friendly, poses even more challenge than traditional farming. Traditional farming practices involve the use of more convenient techniques that over time, have been proven to have their share in harming the environment. On the other hand, the farming methods observed for sustainable farming are environmentally-friendly but require more effort, and undoubtedly, more resources as well.
Ways you can Compensate with the Cost
Young farmers, and those who are interested on taking up Agriculture, are fortunate as there ways that can help them meet their obligations, including their student debts. With this, they would be able to sustain their sustainable farming ventures.
The following are some ways on how young farmers can pay their student debts:
- Income-based repayment programs
Income-based repayment programs help keep loan repayment affordable by keeping it proportionate to one’s income and family size. If you are able to maintain qualified payments in 25 years, your loan will be forgiven.
Pay As You Earn (PAYE), a variant of income-based repayment program, also provides debt forgiveness in 20 years if your payments are greater than 10% of your discretionary income.
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness
There are student loans that can qualify for debt forgiveness in just ten years of payment if you are employed in the government (may it be federal, state, or local), in a non-profit organization, or in a recognized public service organization.
- Pre-Payment of Principal
Paying the principal can help lower the total cost of the loan as there will be lower interest in the long run. If you use a student loan calculator, you will see that the lower the principal, the lower the total payment amount. This is because the interest would be based off a smaller value.
Pre-payment of principal works best for loans that have high-interest rates. It is best to direct all your extra money on pre-paying the principal.
- Debt Consolidation
There are banks that offer loans for debt consolidation. If the interest rate for the new loan is generally lower, then it is a good idea to loan an amount that can cover for your student debt. The idea of this is that you will be able to avoid the higher interest rates that your student debt currently carries.
- Selling your used farming equipment
The first five payment student debt repayment methods are great for all disciplines. There farming-specific strategies that can help you repay your student debt. One of them is selling your used farming equipment.
It is inevitable for you to upgrade your farming tools. If your old tools are still working fine, then it is wise to sell them so that you have extra money that you can use for meeting your obligations. If your used equipment are not exactly working, then selling the usable parts is still great.
It is undeniable that student debt is doing its part in making Agriculture a less desirable field to study. It is already challenging to farm as it is, but the additional burden of student debt is making the situation worse.
Young farmers are applauded for their desire to adopt sustainable practices. While their passion is admirable, they also need their fair share of help. More so, help is definitely needed to ensure the future of agriculture, and of food security.
The simple ways mentioned above in repaying their student debt can help young farmers meet their obligations while they are practicing their craft.
Still, the agriculture sector still needs a lot more help than this to ensure that more young people take interest in farming. It is with a fervent hope that the Government do its part in making Agriculture a worthy discipline to engage in.