Rallying For The Family Farm

For the 11th time, musicians led by Farm Aid's three founders, Neil Young, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp, brought the benefit concert to the stage - this time, in Chicago.

In the past 13 years, Farm Aid has raised $14 million. But there's still work to do. Each week, close to 500 family farms go under, and the problems farmers face have changed over the years.

"It's worse than it was last year, worse than when we started," says Neil Young.

Missouri farmer Rhonda Perry adds, "Right now, the major problem is corporations are taking farms away from the farmers, and they're turning independent family farmers into contract laborers for corporations."

If there was a message this year, it was that bigger is definitely not better. As Willie Nelson sees it, "The farmer is the backbone of our country, and we should treat them as our No. 1 citizen, because they grow our food. And yet, we're throwing them off the land."

It was a show that crossed generations. But the younger musicians were quick to pay homage to the man who has made the family farmer his passion. Darius Rucker of the band Hootie and the Blowfish says, "Willie's so adamant about it. When you talk to him, you just know that you would do pretty much anything for Willie."

The eight-hour telethon was broadcast on Country Music Television (CMT). If you missed it, a three-hour special will be re-broadcast on CMT another three times in October.

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