In the 1980s, family farmers faced a crisis the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the Great Depression. Plummeting farm product prices and land values, rising interest rates, troubled credit markets and unfair lending practices pushed tens of thousands of farms out of business, forcing millions of people off their land.
It was in this context that Willie Nelson, joined by John Mellencamp and Neil Young, organized a groundbreaking concert in 1985 to raise awareness and funds to help America’s family farmers, sparking a family farm movement that continues to this day. Dave Matthews joined the Board of Directors in 2001 and Margo Price joined the Board in 2021, adding more strong voices to Farm Aid’s work. This timeline features highlights from Farm Aid’s three decades of action for family farmers and the Good Food Movement.