Press Releases | March 4, 2015

Farm Aid and Family Farmers Discuss a Different Vision of Agriculture in Context of Iowa Ag Summit

March 4, 2015

Scott Rieder
202-248-5476 (o)
301-461-5482 (c)


Farm Aid and Family Farmers Discuss a Different Vision of Agriculture in Context of Iowa Ag Summit

Des Moines, Iowa — As GOP presidential hopefuls descend on Iowa to participate in the first Iowa Ag Summit, Farm Aid is calling for a different conversation about food and farm policy.

“The concept of an agricultural summit is a good one, but the Iowa Ag Summit is likely to focus on feeding corporate interests, rather than the interests of family farmers and all of us who eat,” said Farm Aid President and Founder Willie Nelson. “We invite the attendees to instead have a conversation that examines what policies are needed to support a family farm-centered vision of agriculture. Let’s create a future that is guided by family farmers and supported by policies that promote access to land, credit and fair markets.”

Interview Availability

In the lead-up to the Iowa Ag Summit, Farm Aid offers interview availability to discuss an alternative perspective on the future of agriculture that is locally controlled and sustains the health of soil, water, communities and rural economies for future generations.

  • George Naylor has raised non-GMO corn and soybeans on his family’s farm in Greene County, Iowa, since 1976. He is a board member of the Center for Food Safety and a past president of the National Family Farm Coalition. George has been involved in farm activism for nearly 40 years.
  • Francis Thicke, with his wife Susan, owns and operates an 80-cow, grass-based organic dairy near Fairfield, Iowa. They process their milk on the farm and market their dairy products through grocery stores and restaurants in Fairfield. Francis has a Ph.D. in soil fertility and has served as national program leader for soil Science for the USDA – Extension Service in Washington, D.C.
  • Barb Kalbach is a fourth-generation family farmer from Adair County, Iowa. She first got involved in farm activism during the 1980s farm crisis. Barb is a long-time member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. The group is holding their own food and ag justice summit in Des Moines on March 7.
  • Alicia Harvie is Farm Aid’s director of advocacy and issues, where she helps develop, support, and evaluate the organization’s many activities and serves as its key issues researcher and writer.

To request an interview, contact Scott Rieder at or by cell at 301461-5482.

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 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. For 30 years, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised $48 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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