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Farm Aid celebrates family farmers

Event kicks off with conversation about the current farm crisis.

Farm Aid 2018 emphasized the determination of farmers and ranchers in Connecticut and across the nation. Held Sept. 22, 2018, in Hartford, Conn., the sold-out event featured Farm Aid president and founder Willie Nelson.

“No matter what’s thrown at them, family farmers persevere,” said Nelson, “They’ve hung in there for generations, growing good food for all of us. Now we’re the ones who’ve got to dig in and fight for their survival.” 

Joining Nelson’s urgent call for change were Farm Aid board members John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews (performing with Tim Reynolds), as well as Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Kacey Musgraves, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Jamey Johnson, Margo Price, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Particle Kid, Ian Mellencamp, David Amram and Wisdom Indian Dancers. All of these artists donated their time, transportation and talents to support farm families.

The daylong festival kicked off with a conversation about the current farm crisis between Connecticut Agriculture Commissioner Steven Reviczky, local farmers and Nelson, Mellencamp, Young and Matthews. Farm Aid highlighted area dairy and produce farmers who are determined to stay on the land, despite a historic confluence of challenges facing farms across the country, including crashing commodity prices, trade, labor shortages, health care costs and natural disasters. Since 1970, the number of American dairy farms has dropped by more than 93%, with bellwether dairy state Wisconsin losing over 500 farms in 2017 alone.

One program that currently benefits low-income individuals and families, as well as farmers, is SNAP, which is under attack by members of Congress.

“Farmers are an incredible example to this country of how to face uncertainty and adversity. They grow our food in the face of tremendous odds, offering us hope,” said Farm Aid’s executive director, Carolyn Mugar. “Every day they do their part to ensure good food for all of us; now as community members, voters and eaters, we can do our part to strengthen them.”

About Farm Aid

Farm Aid’s mission is to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host an annual festival to raise funds to support Farm Aid’s work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family farm food. For more than 30 years, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised more than $53 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms. 

Source: Farm Aid

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