Underscoring the severe crisis in farm country, Farm Aid’s annual music and food festival will return to the heart of dairy country.
Farm Aid 2019 will feature family farmers, the good food they produce and inspiring music. Performing will be Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews with Tim Reynolds, as well as many more artists.
The organization is staging Farm Aid 2019 in an economic climate similar to the one that in 1985 sparked the first Farm Aid concert. Median farm income is expected to be a negative-$1,449 in 2019. While net farm income in 2019 is projected to be 8 percent more than prior-year levels, it will remain among the worst 25 percent of all time.
Farmer stress also is growing, with the risk of depression and suicide among people working in agriculture increasing as compared to the general population. Calls to Farm Aid’s farmer hotline have borne that out, with a 109 percent increase in calls in 2018.
“With devastating weather, low prices, and harmful farm and trade policies, America’s family farmers are facing immense challenges to hold on to their farms,” said Willie Nelson, president and founder of Farm Aid. “It’s not right … family farmers are essential for all of us. By bringing our festival to the heart of the struggle, we will stand side by side with farmers. At Farm Aid 2019 we’ll highlight solutions and show our support for family-farmer contributions to our health, economy and environment.”
The Wisconsin dairy industry generates $43.4 billion each year, fueling the state’s economy at a rate of more than $80,000 per minute. While the dairy industry benefits the economy and culture of Wisconsin, dairy farmers are struggling. The state lost almost 700 dairy farms in 2018 alone.
The annual Farm Aid festival is a unique experience for all the senses. Farm Aid 2019 will serve HOMEGROWN Concessions, which will showcase family-farm-sourced ingredients at all the festival’s food stands. The HOMEGROWN Youthmarket is a farm stand operated by youth involved in farming and farmers markets. HOMEGROWN Concessions utilizes compostable serviceware with a goal of zero waste. Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Village features hands-on activities about soil, water, energy, food and farming. Festival-goers can hear farmers and artists discuss pressing issues and share inspiring stories on the FarmYard Stage. There will be demonstrations to learn agrarian skills and celebrate the culture of agriculture in the HOMEGROWN Skills tent.
The show will be held Sept. 21 at Alpine Valley Music Theatre, 2699 County Road D, East Troy, Wisconsin. Ticket prices range from $54.50 to $249.50. Visit www.farmaid.org for more information.