January 15th, 2013 - Jill Ettinger
Proposed new rules affecting produce handling in order to improve safety and decrease the risks of foodborne illness outbreaks will only be enforced in approximately 20 percent of producers, reports Food Safety News.
Read More:New Food Safety Rules ‘Don’t Apply’ to 80 Percent of Produce Suppliers
July 6th, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
In efforts to raise money for local dairy farmers, New England states have partnered on a campaign that asks area colleges, universities and other institutions including the Vermont-based ice cream shop Ben & Jerry’s to charge more for milk. The “extra” money is being routed to the region’s struggling dairy farmers to help them stay in business.
Read More:Saving America’s Family Farms: How Much More Are You Willing to Pay for Milk?
December 6th, 2011 - Jill Ettinger
The demand for local food is exceeding the infrastructure says a new report from the USDA’s Economic Research Service, titled Direct and Intermediated Marketing of Local Foods in the United States.
Read More:Is Demand for Local Food Growing Too Fast?
June 25th, 2011 - Jill Ettinger
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expected to announce a proposed new rule—the Animal Disease Traceability system—that would mandate livestock animal tracking through ID tagging. The agency has proposed similar rules in the past—beginning in the early 1990s and again in 2003 after 3 cases of “mad cow disease,” bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) were discovered in the U.S.
Read More:Will the USDA’s New Livestock Tagging Really Prevent Disease?
October 15th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
In First They Came for the Cows: An Activist’s Story, Vermont farmer Sharon Zecchinelli has written a fictionalized account of her battle with federal farm regulations.
Zecchinelli’s target: the National Animal Identification System (NAIS)—a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that collects data on farm animals.
The book exposes how the USDA provides loopholes for massive industrial farms, favoring corporate operations at the expense of family farmers and consumers.
Read More:Book Explores Threats to Family Farms
August 2nd, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Farm Aid, celebrating 25 years of protecting local and organic family farms, has just announced that its annual benefit concert will be held Oct. 2 at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The artist lineup will be announced soon. Tickets ($39.50 to $97.50) will go on sale 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 14 (CDT) and are available at the Milwaukee Brewers box office, by phone at (414) 902-4000 or online.
The all-day festival will once again feature HOMEGROWN concessions: local and organic foods from family farms. Attendees can meet farmers, get their hands dirty, and learn how family farmers are connecting us to our roots.
“For 25 years, Farm Aid has worked to keep family farmers on the land,” says cofounder and legendary country artist Willie Nelson, who will perform at the concert. “This anniversary concert is a chance for everyone to join with Farm Aid to support the family farmers who are growing hope for America through the good food they produce, the economies they build, and their care for the soil and water. Family farmers are the backbone of our country, and right now we need them more than ever.”
“Midwest farmers share the same struggle as family farmers across the country,” adds cofounder and rocker John Mellencamp, who will also perform. “They are survivors, and they’re on the land creating solutions for America’s most pressing issues. Since 1985, Farm Aid has been a way for everyone in this country to step up and be part of the solution because nobody is going to solve these problems on their own. It’s going to take all of us working together.”
Photo © Paul Natkin/Photo Reserve, Inc.
Read More:Farm Aid Announces 25th-Anniversary Concert
March 28th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Somerville, MA-based Farm Aid is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews remain committed to creating a family farm-centered U.S. food system.
The nonprofit organization is now planning its annual concert events, which will showcase the positive, sustainable future that family farmers are growing through their hard work every day. Across the country, these farmers are rebuilding local and regional food systems and reenergizing the economy.
“In 1985, we started out to save the family farmer,” Nelson says. “Now, it looks like the family farmer is going to save us. As our nation continues to endure an historic economic downturn, America’s family farmers offer us much hope.”
The economic and employment crisis that so many Americans face today mirrors what family farmers endured during the mid-1980s, when they found themselves threatened with foreclosures, bankruptcy and eviction. Hundreds of thousands of farms were lost. In response, the first Farm Aid concert was held in 1985; since then, the organization has been a relentless champion for family farmers.
Since its inception, Farm Aid has raised more than $36 million to support programs that keep family farmers on their land, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms.
We’ll let you know about the concert date and talent lineup as soon as info becomes available.
Photo: Paul Natkin/Photo Reserve Inc., 2009
Read More:Farm Aid Celebrates 25th Anniversary
February 4th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Singer Neil Young was honored Friday as the MusiCares Person of the Year for his artistic accomplishments and philanthropic work with Farm Aid and The Bridge School, a California organization that assists disabled children.
A Farm Aid cofounder and board member, Young has worked for decades to help family farmers compete against Big Agribusiness.
“For 25 years, my friend Neil has been an impassioned champion of family farmers,” says Farm Aid President Willie Nelson. “He rallies concertgoers year after year at our show, and he relentlessly calls on Washington to reverse the bad policies that force family farmers off their land. He’s stubborn, passionate and persistent—just like family farmers.”
Grant Money for Family Farms
In December, Farm Aid provided $503,500 in grant money to 72 family farms and rural service organizations. The funding:
- Helps farm families stay on their land
- Builds new market opportunities for farmers and increases consumer access to good food
- Increases institutional buying of family-farm food
- Confronts the threat of corporate concentration in agriculture
- Recruits and trains new farmers
- Supports farmer-to-farmer programs for more sustainable agricultural practices
“Farm Aid is proud to support the crucial hands-on work happening all over the country to keep family farmers on the land,” says Executive Director Carolyn Mugar. “2009 has been a tough year for everyone, but farm families especially have struggled with low prices, tight credit and bad weather. These grants will help address the immediate needs of family farmers and continue to grow and strengthen the sustainable, family farm-based food system that helps us all thrive.”
To make a tax-deductible contribution, click here.
Click here to purchase organic T-shirts that read “Stop Factory Farms.”
Get Some Neil!
- Greatest Hits
- After the Gold Rush
- Rust Never Sleeps
- Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography
Photo by Paul Natkin/Photo Reserve Inc. 2008; courtesy of Farm Aid
Read More:Join Neil Young and Help Make Factory Farms History
October 12th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Leanne Skelton, chief of the Fresh Products Branch of the USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service, is working with the FDA to help develop new food safety rules.
Through this coordinated effort, the FDA will gather information and feedback from the fresh produce industry—including small and organic farmers—on the impact food safety rules have on their businesses.
“President Obama, like most Americans, wants immediate improvements in our food safety system,” says Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “As such, we are pulling together all our best resources—state and federal—to improve the safety of our foods and to work with growers to protect and promote the health of our nation.”
“The USDA and the FDA have joined together on listening sessions and farm tours, and are eager to develop a system of regulation that will work for American families and the growers,” adds the USDA’s Rayne Pegg.
In media statements, the Feds are emphasizing that they want to speak with local growers across the country to hear their ideas, concerns and experiences.
Time will tell whether local and organic farmers get the attention they deserve.
Read More:Feds Reach Out to Organic Farmers
October 5th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
During yesterday’s successful concert, Farm Aid leaders asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support measures that help family farmers thrive.
In the 1990s, broken farm policies and consolidated corporate food production forced nearly 80% of hog farmers out of business. According to Farm Aid, similar circumstances are causing dairy farmers to be paid less than half of what it costs to produce milk, and the United States risks losing thousands of dairy farmers this year alone.
At yesterday’s concert, Farm Aid representatives reiterated their request for the USDA to set a price for milk that covers the cost of production, which would guarantee dairy farmers a fair price that keeps them on their land. Farm Aid also asked the USDA to stop using taxpayer dollars to fund new and larger factory farms.
“Family farmers are the first rung of the economic ladder in this country,” said Farm Aid Founder and President Willie Nelson. “Against all odds, they have persevered and found ways to stay on their land, growing good food for all of us and creating strong communities. It’s time now for policy to rise to meet their needs with fair prices and support for their innovations.”
“We invite all Americans to join us in pressing for food production that protects our environment, our health and our economy,” added Executive Director Carolyn Mugar. “We are encouraged by the opportunity the new administration in Washington offers us all for making the needed changes.”
At the concert, USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan joined farmers and food advocates in a conversation about the many ways family farmers are rebuilding local and regional food systems and reenergizing the economy.
“Farmers face overwhelming challenges as they work each day to put food on our tables, and Farm Aid’s ongoing efforts on behalf of family farmers have helped put a human face on this vocation,” she said. “At the same time, there is a bright future for small- and mid-sized producers because there is an agricultural renaissance taking place in America. More and more consumers are wanting to better connect with their producers, and USDA’s new Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative helps to accomplish that goal.”
For Your Organic Bookshelf: Farm Aid: A Song for America
Photo: Paul Natkin/Photo Reserve Inc. 2009
Read More:Farm Aid Calls for Agriculture Policy Changes