As Congress Writes 2023 Farm Bill, Farmers, Advocates and Artists Demand Support for Climate, Equity Efforts

INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 23, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — As Congress readies the 2023 Farm Bill, Farm Aid’s annual music and food festival was the backdrop for farmers’ and farm advocates’ calls for policies that incentivize climate-resilient agriculture, challenge corporate power and promote equity in the food system. 

At the sold-out event at Ruoff Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana, Farm Aid President and Founder Willie Nelson thanked family farmers for their hard work to find climate solutions for their own farms and their communities.   

“We couldn’t think of a better place to host Farm Aid this year,” said Nelson. “The Indiana family farmers who are stewarding their land sustainably have given us a renewed sense of hope. Their innovative work to protect our air, soil and water should be the way forward for agriculture here and around the country.”

Saturday’s daylong festival kicked off with a conversation among artists and farmers about climate change and the future of agriculture. At the morning press event, Indiana farmers and food producers shared how they manage successful farming operations while responding to consumer demand and the needs of the planet.

“Farmers are proving that they have the power to positively change our future,” said Farm Aid Executive Director Carolyn Mugar. “Now it’s up to us to raise our voices and join with farmers to challenge policymakers to support them and their essential work.”

On Friday, Farm Aid hosted A Farmer Forum to highlight Indiana farmers and The People’s Hearing to amplify farmers’ policy change needs. At the People’s Hearing, witnesses from across the nation submitted testimonies to drive effective policy in the areas of corporate power, climate science and racial justice.

Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Village at Ruoff Music Center featured hands-on activities to celebrate agriculture and give festivalgoers a chance to meet farmers in person and learn how they enrich our soil, protect our water, grow our economy and bring us good food for good health. Local and national organizations were on hand to inform attendees about farm stress and how eaters can support wellness for ag communities; festivalgoers tested their food policy and labeling knowledge, spoke with young and beginning farmers, and even sent postcards thanking Indiana farmers for growing good food and caring for the land.

Throughout the day, artists and farmers came together on the FarmYard stage to discuss challenges and opportunities in agriculture, including climate, soil and water; the pending Farm Bill; the next generation of farmers; and how diverse farming practices can benefit the land and our food system more broadly.

Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Concessions® menu items, available throughout the venue, were made with ingredients that meet Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN criteria: (1) produced by family farmers, (2) utilizing ecological practices and (3) with farmers receiving a fair price for their products. Food choices included Indiana pastured beef burgers; stuffed organic russet potatoes with toppings; blackened shrimp tacos from a Louisiana shrimper; Indiana-pastured beef hot dogs topped with brisket from Indiana-certified grass-fed beef; roasted Brussels sprouts; roasted local, non-GMO elote; and kettle corn. Young people from FFA’s Hamilton Southeastern student chapter, Human Agriculture Co-operative in Fort Wayne and The Grange staffed a HOMEGROWN Youthmarket to sell fresh fruits, pecans and baked goods to festivalgoers.

Farm Aid 2023 aired on Circle Network at 7 p.m. ET, with live and prerecorded segments from Ruoff Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana. SiriusXM subscribers heard the full Farm Aid 2023 festival on SiriusXM’s Willie’s Roadhouse (channel 61), Dave Matthews Band Radio (channel 30) and Grateful Dead Channel (channel 23) via SiriusXM radio and on the SXM App. The coverage also featured a behind-the-scenes look at Farm Aid 2023 and the organization’s year-round work to strengthen family farm agriculture.

Sponsors of Farm Aid 2023 included Hard Truth Distilling Company, Patagonia Workwear, Spindrift, Frontier Co-Op, and Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs.

Farm Aid will continue to offer rare and unique items, including guitars from Gibson and Epiphone, posters, books, albums and other memorabilia signed by artists at Farm Aid 2023. All proceeds will benefit Farm Aid. The silent auction will run online at through Oct. 6.

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, Dave Matthews and Margo Price 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 35 years, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised more than $70 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.

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