Fresno really wants Farm Aid
By: Rich Rodriguez

Valley farmers want Willie Nelson and his musical buddies to bring the Farm Aid concert to Fresno this year.  Farm Aid has been around since 1985 but it’s never played on California soil.

The Farm Aid to Fresno 2010 committee has been working on the project since last July.  Nearly two weeks ago they sent a specially produced farm video, an eight page proposal and a support letter from Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearingen to Farm Aid headquarters in Massachusetts.

Raisin grape grower Thomas Hagopian is featured in the video.  He said, “we have problems here to and we don’t get the attention that other areas get so I thought this would be good. Maybe we can bring attention to the Valley if we bring Farm Aid here.”

Farm Aid is a non–profit organization whose mission is to keep family farmers on their land.  Julia Berry of the Madera County Farm Bureau says young farmers would benefit from the concert.  Berry said, “the average age of a farmer in California is 65 and we have a younger generation who would like to come in and take over but it’s very expensive to buy property and be in farming these days.”

Since the Farm Aid to Fresno package has already been delivered, the committee believes a letter writing campaign will make a difference. Mike Dozier of the Farm Aid to Fresno 2010 said, “what were hoping to do is have 20–thousand pieces of correspondence go to Farm Aid and do it in a friendly way.   Do you think that will influence? I know it will influence. It’s how Michele Obama got to U.C. Merced this year.

If Fresno gets the nod from Farm Aid, the concert would be held at Chukchansi Park in Downtown Fresno.

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