FARM AID President Willie Nelson announced last Friday that
Louisville, Kentucky has been selected as the site for FARM AID's
10th Anniversary Concert scheduled for October 1. "We are proud to
hold our 10th Anniversary Concert in the Bluegrass State," Nelson
said at a news conference in Louisville. "Kentucky is full of dedicated
men and women who work hard to make a living on the land. This
concert is a chance to remind the nation that the work of family
farmers is vital to America." Nelson and fellow FARM AID board
members, Neil Young and John Mellencamp, will once again unite to
perform at the concert to benefit the nation's family farmers. They
will be joined by top new band Hootie and the Blowfish. Additional
artists will be announced.
FARM AID's 10th Anniversary Concert, October 1, 1995. Cardinal
Stadium, Louisville, KY. Tickets: $25.00. Call Ticketmaster, 1-800-
487-1212. Tickets go on sale August 28.
KENTUCKY WELCOMES FARM AID
Kentucky, a state which has received more than $150,000 in FARM
AID assistance over the past 10 years, welcomed FARM AID founders
"Agriculture remains the backbone of Kentucky's economy," said
Kentucky Governor Brereton Jones. "We know first-hand the
struggles facing families who are trying to make a living from the
soil. FARM AID has done an excellent job of shining the light into
dark corners where the problems facing family farmers are often
Jones was among many state and local officials, as well as many
Kentucky farmers who appeared at the news conference to welcome
Dan Ulmer, Chair of the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center, said, "We are
very excited that Cardinal Stadium has been selected as the site for
such a worthwhile event. Our staff and board will do everything
possible to make this year's FARM AID concert one to remember."
Sue Bradford, President of Kentucky's Community Farm Alliance, said
that without financial help from FARM AID her organization wouldn't
likely exist. Community Farm Alliance is a state-wide grassroots
organization with over 1200 members. The Alliance has been
working closely with FARM AID to help family farmers cope with
economic difficulties and to ensure that this year's benefit concert is
FARM AID FOUNDED 10 YEARS AGO TO HELP FARMERS SURVIVE
FARM AID was founded in 1985 by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp
and Neil Young to raise public awareness about the plight of the
American family farmer and to provide assistance to those families
whose livelihood depends on agriculture.
In the past 10 years, FARM AID has held seven benefit concerts and
granted more than $12 million to over 100 farm organizations,
churches and service agencies in 44 states.
"I come from the heart of farm country, so I know how important
FARM AID is," said Mellencamp from his home in Indiana. "FARM
AID is more than a great concert; it's a year-round effort to help
family farmers survive."
Despite the hard work and efforts of FARM AID and hundreds of
grassroots organizations, the economic crisis facing rural America has
"The farm crisis has turned into a chronic problem," Nelson says.
"Five hundred farmers a week are still losing their land, even though
farm auctions aren't on the front pages anymore. As long as people
who are willing to work the fields all day need our help, FARM AID
will stand behind them."
TEN YEARS OF CONTINUED STRUGGLE: AMERICA'S FAMILY FARMERS
AND RURAL RESIDENTS FACE WORSENING CRISIS
Since 1985, the severe economic recession faced by America's family
farmers has not slowed. Following is a brief look at some of the
effects of the nation's continuing farm crisis. According to the USDA,
over the last 10 years:
%America has lost more than 250,000 farmers; 25,000 per year.
%Income earned by America's farmers from commodity production
alone dropped further below the poverty level from $6,000 in 1985
to $4,850 per year in 1993 (the latest available data).
%Rural poverty has jumped from around 14 percent to
approximately 20 percent.
%The index of prices paid to farmers for their crops rose 7.5 percent
between 1982 and 1993; whereas the index of prices paid by
farmers for their inputs jumped 23 percent over the same period.
% Farmers' share of the food dollar has shrunk from 32 cents to 24
%The percentage of farm families forced to work off the farm has
edged up from about 56 percent in 1985 to 58 percent in 1994; with
approximately 90 percent of farm households now reliant on some
form of off-farm income.
% The average age of America's farmers is now 56 years. Only
206,000 young persons under the age of 35 entered farming in 1992
compared to more than 278,000 young farm entrants of the same
age in 1987.
The farm crisis, often characterized as a fixed period of time in the
mid-1980s, has in fact evolved into a chronic problem. At the press
conference, Willie Nelson issued a challenge to Congress to finally put
an end to the nation's persistent farm crisis through new federal
policy in the 1995 Farm Bill.
"Our elected officials have an important choice to make. They can
come up with a farm bill that continues to drive family farmers off
the land, or they can create a new farm policy that increases income
for family farmers and helps young people get started in farming,"
Nelson stated at the press conference. "Everyone who eats should
care about keeping family farmers on their farms. We all need to
keep an eye on Congress to be sure they make the right choice."
FARM AID GRANT ANNOUNCEMENT
FARM AID will be making a small round of grants by August 15 on
pending proposals. In addition, FARM AID is now accepting grant
proposals from family farm organizations for our post-concert
funding cycle. The deadline for submitting proposals for our post-
concert cycle is September 15, 1995. Decisions will be made by
October 31. Call Harry Smith for grant guidelines.
For more information about FARM AID'S 10th Anniversary Concert,
call Harry Smith at (617) 354-2922.
FARM AID's quarterly newsletter, which provides updates on grants
as well as FARM AID projects and activities, is available with a paid
membership. FARM AID membership cost is $35.00 per year.
Contact FARM AID for more information.
Next Edition of FARM AID NEWS: Ten Years Later, FARM AID
Remains Necessary to Help farmers Cope With Growing Economic
We welcome comments and suggestions: contact Harry Smith at
FARM AID, (617) 354-2922. We encourage the reproduction of
FARM AID NEWS. Produced by The Institute for Agriculture and
Trade Policy (IATP) for FARM AID. Editors: Gigi DiGiacomo and
Harry Smith. For information on other agriculture bulletins, contact
IATP: (612) 379-5980.