As part of this year’s Farm Aid Festival, Farm Aid is organizing a special pre-concert Farmer Town Hall on Friday, September 24th, from 1-5 pm ET, to create space for farmers and allies to share their stories and engage in thoughtful conversation with policymakers on what change is truly needed to build a more equitable and resilient food and farm system.
With pressing issues like corporate concentration and consolidation, debt relief, racial equity and climate change dominating headlines and the countryside alike, we are hoping to use this opportunity to engage in a productive and thoughtful dialogue between farmers, partners, and policymakers to tackle some of the most pressing and complex issues facing our country.
While Farm Aid will be hosting our annual festival in person this year, we will host this event in a fully virtual format to ensure the critical voices of our partners and farmers are included in these important policy conversations. The event will take place from 1:00 to 5:00 pm ET via Zoom.
Event highlights include:
- Regional Grounding – We’ll start at 1:00pm ET with a welcome from Bryan Hurlburt, Connecticut Commissioner of Agriculture, to ground us in the agricultural landscape of New England, where Farm Aid is being hosted this year. We’ll also hear about the important work of Farm Aid in responding to farmers in crisis and opportunity.
- Keynote with Secretary Vilsack – We are delighted to share that Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack will be joining our town hall to better understand the challenges that farmers are facing and what changes are needed within USDA to truly move the needle on longstanding issues like corporate consolidation, racial equity and climate change. Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI), Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, will also join this discussion.
- Farmer Q&A with USDA Leadership – We will also be joined by a panel of USDA experts across a range of topics, including debt relief, credit, racial equity and civil rights, beginning farmers, competition, and climate change. Farmers will have the opportunity to ask questions or share their stories directly with USDA leadership.
- However, given the limited time for this event, we are asking farmers to register in advance (and specify what topics they’d like to address in their comments) if they’d like an opportunity to comment or ask a question. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate all requests to comment, but will do our best to accommodate farmer concerns.
- See the agenda for more details.
As a valued partner in this collective work, and at this crucial moment of opportunity, we’d love to have you join us on the 24th for Farm Aid’s 2021 Farmer Town Hall!
Please register for the Town Hall here by Wednesday, September 22nd.
In addition to registering, please help us spread the word to farmers in your network or community. It is our hope that we use this event to both center and lift up the diverse voices of farmers and ranchers who are both struggling and persevering against all odds.