Archive for the ‘Farm Aid’ Category

Farm Aid: “Family farmers impacted by fires need our help”

Monday, March 20th, 2017
All of us gain when we create a strong, family-farm centered system of agriculture. Family farmers offer us health by bringing us good food, and they protect our future by caring for our soil and water. If we want good food from family farms, we need…

Wildfires have ravaged more than 2 million acres of farm and ranch land in Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado. Family farmers and ranchers face damaged homes, charred land, burnt fences, and dead or injured animals. In response, Farm Aid has activated our Family Farm Disaster Fund to raise funds in support of local recovery efforts and to directly address the needs of family farmers and ranchers affected by the wildfires.

You can help! Please click the link below to donate today to support farmers and ranchers in the affected areas.

Family Farm Disaster Fund – March 2017

Neil Young, Willie Nelson, “Heart of Gold” (Farm Aid 1995)

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Crazy Horse, “All Along the Watchtower” (Farm Aid 1994)

Monday, February 27th, 2017

The Grateful Dead, Farm Aid 1986 (Austin)

Monday, February 20th, 2017

Grateful Dead perform “The Wheel,” “I Need a Miracle” and “Uncle John’s Band” live at the Farm Aid concert in Austin, Texas on July 4, 1986.

Farm Aid was started by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp in 1985 to keep family farmers on the land and has worked since then to make sure everyone has access to good food from family farmers. Dave Matthews joined Farm Aid’s board of directors in 2001.

Support Family Farmers #FarmAid

Friday, February 17th, 2017

Farm Aid features the best that music has to offer, while remaining true to its ultimate mission.


Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on the land. Dave Matthews joined the Farm Aid Board of Directors in 2001. Farm Aid has raised more than $50 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture. Farm Aid is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to keep family farmers on the land.

Learn more about Farm Aid’s work in this video:

Farm Aid accomplishes its mission by:


Meet Laura, Farm Aid’s program manager

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

Laura Brookshire


I joined the Farm Aid team in late August of 2016. Before Farm Aid, I worked in agricultural economic development in local government, owned a small farm in North Carolina and studied sustainable agriculture, food systems and nonprofit administration. I am beyond thrilled and honored to serve as Farm Aid’s Program Manager. I have the privilege of working with the dozens of food and farm organizations across the country that participate in our grant program.


Since the first concert in 1985, Farm Aid has granted over $22 million to more than 300 organizations. That amounts to over 2,000 grants given! These grants strengthen the viability of family farming in America by helping farmers thrive, growing the good food movement, or taking action to change the agricultural system to one that is more supportive of family farming. Our grantees are on-the-ground partners, and we rely on them to keep us informed of, and inspired by, the work being done for and by family farmers.

Our grantees are on-the-ground partners.

This past fall was my first time involved in Farm Aid’s grant review process. I was so inspired and humbled by all of the work highlighted in the proposals we received. For the 2016 grant cycle, more than $500,000 was granted to 79 organizations in 35 states and Washington, DC. Each year, the Farm Aid concert allows us to meet new organizations in the concert region who then become first-time grantees. For 2016, the concert region included Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington, DC. We are so excited about our new partnerships and the work these organizations are doing! I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of them.


Willie Nelson and Ray Price

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

released:  6/24/03

Song List:

  1. San Antonio Rose
  2. I’ll Be There (If You Ever Want Me)
  3. I Fall To Pieces
  4. Crazy Arms
  5. Release Me
  6. Don’t You Ever Get Tired (Of Hurting Me)
  7. This Cold War With You
  8. Ain’t It Funny How Time Slips Away
  9. Night Life
  10. Deep Water
  11. Faded Love
  12. Just Call Me Lonesome

If you ate today… Thank a Farmer

Saturday, January 28th, 2017


support family farmers, support Farm Aid.

Support Farm Aid

Thursday, January 26th, 2017




Willie Nelson and Family, “Milk Cow Blues” (Farm Aid III, 1997)

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Farm Aid 2017

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Happy New Year!
With the frenzy of the holiday season behind us and snowy weather upon us, we’ve had some time to reflect upon Farm Aid’s 2016 accomplishments and the work ahead in 2017. We’re grateful that you rely on us to keep you informed about —  and activated in — our farm and food system.
Looking ahead
An incoming president and soon-to-be-announced (we hope!) Secretary of Agriculture are sure to shake up U.S. agriculture in 2017 and beyond. As farmers continue to struggle in a very difficult farm economy, Congress will gear up to shape a new Farm Bill. This year, we’ll be tuning into that and several other issues, including:

As always, Farm Aid will continue to engage you in opportunities to challenge the corporate power that has a stranglehold over our food and farm system, and opportunities to advance a more just agriculture that benefits everyone.

Farmer Hero, Alvina Maynard, of River Hill Ranch in Richmond, KY

Do you know someone who should be recognized as a
Farmer Hero? 
Over the past ten years, Farm Aid has highlighted the work of dozens of Farmer Heroes all over the country. They have shown us everything from how their practices protect our soil and water while slowing climate change, to how they grow local economies and strengthen their communities. We’ve featured everyone from a farmer growing vegetables on Chicago rooftops, to Iowa farmers organizing against factory farms and a North Carolina poultry farmer fighting corporate power. Their innovative approaches to growing and raising good food inspire us as we build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America.

We know our community is filled with people who have meaningful connections with farmers. We’d love to hear about a farmer you know who deserves to be celebrated. 

Our accomplishments in 2016

Thanks for being a partner in the work to grow a family farm food system! From connecting farmers with policymakers through our Farmer Leadership Grants, to creating a Farm to School Rocks guide to inspire engagement in the budding Farm to School movement, to our incredible Bristow, Virginia, concert, we had a meaningful year here at Farm Aid.

Here’s a look back. In 2016 we:

Farm Aid III (1987) (Lincoln, NE)

Friday, January 6th, 2017

[Thank you, Phil Weisman, for sharing this clipping about Farm Aid III.]

Chicago Sun-Times
September 21, 1987

LINCOLN, Neb.  Fleeting remarks and lasting impressions from a full day at Saturday’s Farm Aid.

Most valuable players through out the evening’s part of the program were the members of John Cougar Mellencamp’s red-hot band.  After providing hard edge accompaniment for Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane,” they gave John Prine the sort of rough-hewn, roots-rock backing that he’s been missing since he quit working with Chicago’s Famous Potatoes.

The closing set by Mellencamp and band was one of the event’s most rousing.  On “Small Town” and “Pink House” the accordion and fiddle of his band’s expanded lineup fit just fine with the rock n’ roll rhythm section.  The two-song set, way too short for most of the crowd, provided a taste of what wil likely be one of the fall’s strongest tours.

While Willie Nelson received most of the credit throughout the day, and deservedly so, Mellencamp has also been a driving force behind Farm Aid during its three-year existence.  Both Reed and the Crusados thanked him specifically for enlisting their participation.

The most inspired music that was heard by no one at home came courtesy of Neil Young.  “Ain’t singing for Pepsi, ain’t singing for coke,” he sang.  “Ain’t singing for nobody, it makes me look like a joke.  This note’s for you.”  While Young slammed corporate sponsorship, the broadcast had cut to another commercial.

David Alvin has the distinction of being the only performer to play each of the three Farm Aids, as part of a completely different band.  He was with the Blasters at the first Farm Aid, a member o X at the second and the leader of his own band, the Allnighters at Farm Aid III.

The man who was formerly known as a songwriter and guitarist demonstrated that he had already become a far more confident singer than when he cut “Romen’s Escape,” his recently released debut album as a solo artist.  His afternoon set, mixing country ballads and hard-rock ravers, was one of the event’s highlights.

Dennis Hopper, who was raised on a Kansas farm, introduced country singer Lynn Anderson to the crowd as an “easy rider,” who offered to share her bus with other performers who needed a ride to Lincoln.

He later told the TV audience, “Big companies are interested in big profits.  Period.” an economic analysis that was sure to endear him to corporate America.  “Who would you rather see own America?” he asked.

Events such as this inevitably produce a rash of Bruce Springsteen rumors.  The day before the concert, the talk of the town was dominated by eyewitness accounts of Springsteen and Nelson enjoying dinner at a Lincoln country club.  It never happened, according to officials at the country club.

When we strengthen Family Farmers, We are all stronger

Thursday, December 29th, 2016
by:  Carolyn Muldar

Many kind people have donated to Farm Aid this year – and that’s crucial because we rely on the generosity of people like you to do the hard work to keep family farmers strong. People often share with us why they believe in Farm Aid’s work. This message really resonates with me:

I have been a supporter of Farm Aid for quite some time, and I have been to countless Farm Aid concerts. There is so much genuine dedication within this organization, and I am proud to be part of it! – Ginna

When I joined Farm Aid in 1985, I didn’t have a background in farming. But like Ginna, I could see the dedication of Willie, John and Neil, and all the farmers who were working to save their farms and their neighbors’ farms. That commitment to family farmers has always inspired me. I am proud of our hard work.

This year, with your help, Farm Aid:


All of this extraordinary work makes a real difference in the lives of farm families, and all of us who eat. Farm Aid can’t do this work without you.

Please, give a gift right now to support family farmers and good food.

When we strengthen family farmers, we are all stronger.

Support Farm Aid, support our family farmers

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016
You and I have depended on family farmers all our lives. They fill our plate three times each day, they strengthen our local economy, and they are the backbone of our communities.
For 31 years, the annual Farm Aid concert has been a way for all of us to honor family farmers and the role they play in a strong America. On the Farm Aid 2016 stage, farmers from Virginia and Washington, D.C., told their stories of struggle and success.
Listening to these farmers and activists on stage, my friend John Mellencamp said that he’s never felt so inspired in all our years of doing this work. I felt that way, too. That’s why I wanted to share these stories with you.
Chris Bradshaw is growing a new community farm on the grounds of a public school in D.C. that will feed, teach and train schoolchildren and neighborhood residents.
Robin Robbins and Roger Garrett are farmers in Appalachia. There, local food is bringing hope, creating good farming jobs and bringing healthy, fresh food to people who need it.
Nurse practitioner Miranda Trent partners with the Local Food Hub and their farmers to provide fresh, local foods to her patients who struggle to eat healthy food.
Ms. Mary Morgan and Boe Umar have transformed an empty lot in D.C. into a community garden that feeds their neighborhood, physically and emotionally.
Together you and I:
  • Make sure family farmers stay on the land;
  • Amplify farmer voices so they can be heard by politicians and eaters;
  • Build a strong network of farm advocates who provide one-on-one support;
  • Make it possible for a new generation of young people become farmers;
  • Stand with rural citizens to stop factory farms from wiping out family farms and damaging rural communities.
Farm Aid’s work to strengthen family farmers benefits all of us. Family farmers put good food on our tables. They protect our soil and water. And they support our communities. If we want good food, we need family farmers!
Stay strong and positive,

“Family Farmers are a National Resource” – Neil Young

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016
by Neil Young

When Abraham Lincoln formed the US Department of Agriculture in 1862 he referred to it as the “People’s Department” because it served the common interest of so many Americans. America’s concerns about food and the economy were addressed and investments in cutting-edge research guaranteed the nation’s food security.

More than 200 years later, we are in the midst of a historic financial crisis and part of the solution lies with the “People’s Department.” It’s time for our newest federal leaders to recognize the unmatched ability of family farmers to strengthen local economies. We can all learn from the ingenuity and innovation that family farmers demonstrate time and time again in the face of challenge.

In the 1980s, American farmers found themselves in a fight for their lives. Low prices for farm products, plummeting land values, rising interest rates, and skyrocketing production costs overloaded farmers with crashing debts that forced tens of thousands to lose their land. In response, the Credit Act of 1987 freed up credit for farmers and allowed for loan restructuring so farmers could honor their debt. Farmers were able to stay on their land and create a thriving network of local and regional food systems that provides jobs and food for their neighbors today.

Yet again farmers are faced with seemingly insurmountable financial hardship. The credit farmers need in order to pay for their seasonal start-up costs is tight, like credit is for the rest of the country. Instability in market prices and threats from weather-related disasters make it hard for banks to guarantee their investment, discouraging lending and encouraging high interest. At the same time, rising operating costs and declining prices for their products are making it nearly impossible for farmers to keep up with their debt. Many farmers have to put their homes up as security on their farm loans, which means if they fall behind on their farm loan payments they can lose their businesses and their homes.

The USDA, with help from other agencies, should restore fair credit, prices, and practices for family farmers. As Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack makes plans to implement the 2008 Farm Bill, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would be well served to consider lessons from the 1980s and extend loan protections under the federal bailout to family farmers, preventing home foreclosures and bankruptcy among farmers and ranchers. As a condition of receiving any federal government funds, Treasury needs to require banks providing farm credit to restructure loans when farmers are unable to make payments due to circumstances beyond their control, such as market- and weather-related disasters. Requiring no additional funding, this simple action would prevent thousands of farmers from joining the ranks of the jobless and homeless while guaranteeing a safe, secure food supply and creating local job opportunities.

Vilsack can also act quickly to get funds to farmers who need it most. Farmers who were hit hard by disasters in 2007 and 2008 still have not received the funding available in Farm Bill disaster relief programs. And the USDA needs to get the word out fast about additional funding for direct operating loans that Congress included in the stimulus bill. If farmers are having trouble accessing the credit they need for this year’s growing season, the Farm Service Agency might just be able to help. Swift implementation of already enacted legislation can mean the difference between losing more farmers and keeping those farmers on the land.

Family farmers are a national resource with the potential to help solve the challenges we currently face. The agriculture sector is projected to have contributed more than $130 billion to the US economy in 2008. The hard work of family farmers is strengthening local economies, reducing the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels, protecting natural resources, and increasing national security. The United States is re-laying the groundwork of its economic stability, and family farmers are the key to a strong foundation.

Neil Young, along with Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews, is a board member of Farm Aid (