Farm Aid teams up with Headcount each year to register concertgoers to vote at our annual Farm Aid concert. But Farm Aid is about much more than incredible music. Started in 1985 by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young (Dave Matthews joined the Board of Directors in 2001), Farm Aid’s mission is to keep family farmers on the land. We work throughout the year on issues that affect family farmers and we also work to inform folks about why they should care about their food and who grows it. Only together–farmers and eaters–can we create a food system that brings us healthy food grown with care, protects our natural resources, and creates thriving local economies and strong communities.
One of the coolest things about Farm Aid is the diversity of people we get to work with. We work directly with farmers, helping them access the resources they need to get on the land and grow. We have artists who are totally dedicated to good food at our annual concert. We collaborate with chefs and eaters who are super-enthusiastic about food. We get to conspire with HOMEGROWNers: those of you who are choosing to separate yourselves from the industrialized food system by seeding, growing, baking, preserving, brewing, building it yourself.
This year we’ve tackled some tough farm policy issues like farm foreclosure protection, the dairy crisis, and making sure farmers have access to the credit they need to plant their seeds. Our most recent advocacy campaign is a petition to the Secretary of Agriculture to stop funding the creation and expansion of factory farms.
Here’s the basic problem: A current USDA program is funneling taxpayer money to fund new and bigger factory farm operations. This lending is leading to the gross overproduction of hogs and poultry. So much livestock is being churned out that it has caused a long-term depression of producer prices, forcing family farmers out of business. This gives us fewer options at the grocery store and gives factory farms more power.
Not only that, but these factory farms pose a real danger to our communities, our natural resources, and the livelihood of hardworking family farmers who dedicate their lives to raising poultry and livestock in ways that safeguard our air, water and public health.
It’s time for Secretary Vilsack to end this destructive lending and focus USDA resources on helping those who need it most: the family farmers who have been supplying America with healthy, safe food for generations. Click here to sign our petition now— and thanks for standing up for family farmers.
To learn more about Farm Aid, visit our website. And if you’re in the Midwest, come to the HOMEGROWN Urban Country Fair on October 3rd and this year’s Farm Aid concert on October 4th in St. Louis, Missouri!