Willie Nelson, Neil Young and Jack Johnson to headline Farm Aid 2012

By Hilary Gridley

Despite America’s rich heritage as an agrarian republic, farmers continue to struggle. Fortunately, influential musicians remain allies to the families that feed the country. In 1987, soon after Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young launched the first Farm Aid benefit concert, Congress passed the Agricultural Credit Act to help protect family farms from foreclosure.

Since then, the Farm Aid organization has continued to grow, raising money for struggling farmers as well as providing those impacted by natural disasters with food, financial help, legal advice and psychological assistance. This year, Mellencamp, Nelson, and Young return with Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson and other artists at Hersheypark Stadium in Pennsylvania.

Nelson, who now serves as president of Farm Aid, noted just how relevant family farmers’ struggle is in a time already darkened by income disparity in America, saying, “Farm Aid brings…Main Street values to transform the Wall Street-controlled farm and food system. The Farm Aid concert is our chance to shine a spotlight on the independent family farmers who are essential to the well-being of our country.”

Farm Aid 2012’s lineup also includes Dave Matthews Band guitarist Tim Reynolds California rock bands ALO, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, and Pegi Young and the Survivors, fronted by Neil Young’s wife and former backup singer.

The funds raised from ticket sales will go toward promoting food from family farms fostering connections between farmers and consumers by getting family farm food in urban grocery stores, restaurants and schools; running the crisis hotline 1-800-FARM-AID and the Farmer Resource Network; and working to promote fair farm policies regarding topics like factory farms and genetically modified organisms.

Tickets go on sale Friday, July 13 at 10 a.m. ET. You can grab them here. Still need convincing? Check out videos from past Farm Aid concerts here.

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