FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 21, 2010

CONTACT:
Brandi Horton
202-248-5447

Willie Nelson and Farm Aid Stand With Shirley Sherrod, Call for Her Reinstatement by USDA

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Farm Aid President Willie Nelson today declared his support of Shirley Sherrod, former director of the Georgia Field Office for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund (the Federation), and called for her reinstatement as Georgia USDA State Director of Rural Development. Farm Aid has long-supported the Federation in its efforts to improve economic opportunities for family farmers in the South and has worked closely with Shirley Sherrod for 25 years.

“Since we started Farm Aid in 1985, the Federation has been a true friend and an ally in our work to keep family farmers on the land,” said Nelson. “During Ms. Sherrod’s time at the Federation, she made sure that all of the family farmers she worked with got what they needed to stay on their land. Ms. Sherrod has been a national leader for family farmers and a strong, knowledgeable advocate for all struggling farm families. Farm Aid is proud to support the exemplary work of Ms. Sherrod and the Federation.”

Farm Aid executive director Carolyn Mugar, echoing Mr. Nelson’s comments, said “Shirley Sherrod has dedicated her life to working on behalf of family farmers—regardless of race. We call on USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to right this wrong immediately and reinstate Ms. Sherrod. Farm Aid extends Ms. Sherrod an offer of employment until Secretary Vilsack does so. This country desperately needs more farm advocates with the expertise of Shirley Sherrod. But this is not just about a job—it’s about ensuring that Shirley Sherrod has the opportunity to continue to help farmers and the rural poor, something Ms. Sherrod has spent her life doing. We would be honored to have her experience and commitment at Farm Aid.”

For 25 years, Farm Aid has worked 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 has raised more than $37 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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