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Proposals designed to help struggling Wisconsin farmers

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Three proposals designed to help Wisconsin's struggling farmers pay off college debt, encourage diverse operations and plan for retirement are being circulated in the state Legislature.

The measures unveiled Tuesday are sponsored by Democrats but have bipartisan support, increasing their chances of being considered by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

One bill would fund two positions within the University of Wisconsin System to help farmers create succession plans for passing down their operations to younger family members.

Another proposal would forgive up to $30,000 in higher education debt for college graduates who commit to farming in Wisconsin at least five years.

A third would create a competitive grant program that would award grants of up to $50,000 for small-scale farming operations no larger than 50 acres.

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