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Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A. — Farm Aid has activated its Family Farm Disaster Fund to raise funds to provide relief for farm families whose crops and farmland are being devastated by the country’s worst drought in more than 50 years.
“Our farmers and the soil they depend on are crucial for the future of agriculture,” said Willie Nelson, Farm Aid’s founder and president. “Farm Aid works to keep every family farmer on the land, no matter what extreme conditions they face.”
With thousands of farmers coast-to-coast affected by the drought, raising funds for those in need is urgent. The Family Farm Disaster Fund allows Farm Aid to respond directly to farm families in crisis. Every dollar raised supports local farm groups, churches and rural organizations that can distribute emergency resources quickly to the farm families most in need, as well as farm groups who advocate for long-term solutions to address chronic drought and extreme weather.
“The drought of 2012 is massive, unlike anything family farmers or the nation have experienced in a long time. And there are few signs that it will let up any time soon,” said Joel Morton, Farm Aid’s farm advocate. “Every day, we hear from family farmers facing crop losses and ruined pastures due to severe heat and dryness. Farm Aid has a long history of delivering immediate help to farmers around the country; donations at this time are crucial to help farm families stay on the land.”
Small- and mid-sized family farms are especially threatened by this drought, particularly those without crop insurance. Even farmers with crop insurance will only be reimbursed for a portion of their loss. With pastures scorched and their feed crops lost, livestock and dairy farmers must purchase feed to sustain their animals, driving up their production costs.
As this record drought continues and intensifies, feed costs will continue to rise and feed may become difficult to access. These small- and mid-sized farmers most at risk are the ones building the local food systems that are so crucial for thriving local economies and emerging food systems.
“When family farms suffer, so do local economies,” said Morton. “We can’t afford to lose a single farmer — we must rally now to protect our farmers’ livelihoods.”
To donate, please visit farmaid.org/disasterfund.
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 concert to raise funds to support Farm Aid’s work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family farm food.
Since 1985, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised more than $40 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.
Farm Aid 2012, the organization’s annual benefit concert, will be held in Hershey, Pa. on Sept. 22. For more information, visit farmaid.org/concert.