How About A Bailout For America's Family Farms?
Country music icon Willie Nelson has a message for Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke in the wake of the recent $700 billion dollar plus Wall Street bailout - how about a bailout for the desperate and struggling family farmers of America that are nearing extinction?
"I have written a letter as president of Farm Aid to whoever controls that money that we would like to have $1 billion dollars from that 700....$1 billion dollars is I think all we'll need to turn the economy around if we start out taking care of our family farmers," Nelson told The Alex Jones Show.
"We could put 10 million farmers back on the land, making a living out there raising food and fuel....and that $1 billion dollars I think would go a long way to changing our negative attitudes that we have and the confidence in ourselves and in our country right now," said Nelson, adding that all foreclosures on farms should be halted immediately.
"I think that if we invested that $1 billion with our family farmers, we would begin to turn it around," stressed the country music star, later joking that $100 billion would be an even better amount.
Nelson has been a multi-decade activist and vocal proponent for Farm Aid, and recently performed alongside Neil Young at the highly successful 2008 Farm Aid concert which was held at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA, having helped organize the first Farm Aid concert in 1985.
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Farm Aid is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to keep family farmers on their land and support locally sourced, humanely-raised and organic food in the face of a gargantuan attempt on behalf of big agribusiness to squeeze the family farmer out of existence.
The letter that Nelson and fellow Farm Aid directors John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews sent to Congress points out, "When farms thrive, Main Street businesses and local communities thrive. Far from Wall Street, family farmers are creating real wealth, producing real value, growing from seeds and sunlight a product that nourishes us both physically and economically. Supporting diverse decentralized family farming will do far more for the stability and vitality of our country than a handful of global agribusiness corporations could ever do."
"The proposed $700 billion bailout asks taxpayers to foot the bill without giving them the opportunity to share in any gains. A $1 billion investment in family farm agriculture would enrich us all, because we are all shareholders of the family farm. The return on investment in the family farm includes thriving local economies, nutritious food for better health, a safer and more secure food supply, a cleaner environment and more renewable energy."
Nelson pointed out that when 8-10 million family farmers were on the land in America at the end of the second world war the economy was strong because, "Agriculture is the bottom rung on the economic ladder," adding that the farmers became a target because they were a political problem.
"Let's put out the fire now, we'll figure out who started it later and that's pretty much what we have to do, we have to stop the fire and stop the bleeding, and I think the best way to do that is still from the ground up, go back to our family farmer, he's the one that started taking care of us in the beginning so let's let him do it again," Nelson concluded.
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