When Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and John Mellencamp founded Farm Aid back in 1985, sponsoring its first concert in Champaign Illinois, American farmers were in crisis. A series of droughts had devastated farms in the Midwest, Ohio Valley, and Great Lakes regions, with Kentucky and Ohio suffering their driest spells of the 20th century. Family farms were struggling to stay afloat, with many of them deeply in debt. Although the drought conditions would continue (and in some places, worsen) throughout the 1980s, Farm Aid brought the troubles faced by American family farmers to public consciousness for the first time. It also raised money to help struggling farm families to stay on their land and pay off crushing debt.
Thirty-one years later, people sometimes wonder if Farm Aid is still around and if so, why.Read More