Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Farm Aid response to hurricane Katrina

- from our friends at Farm Aid

Farm Aid offers immediate assistance for farmers devastated by hurricane Katrina

Activates Family Farm Disaster Fund to Provide Emergency Relief

Somerville, MA — Farm Aid will channel emergency assistance to farm families devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Farm Aid today activated the Family Farm Disaster Fund to encourage donations so that farm families can get the help they need to recover from the hurricane and continue farming.

“This is a moment when each of us can take stock of what we can offer to everyone affected by this catastrophe, and Farm Aid is in a position to act for farm families,” said Farm Aid President Willie Nelson. “Crop and livestock losses will be massive. Many farm buildings were destroyed in the storm and ensuing flooding. A disaster of this magnitude can be a breaking point for many Southern family farms.”

Individuals can contribute to Farm Aid’s disaster fund on-line at or by calling 1.800.FARM-AID. In addition to funds raised by people across the country, Farm Aid has sent an initial $30,000 to several of its partner family farm organizations in the southeast. The funds will allow the Federation of Southern Cooperatives and the Louisiana Interchurch Conference to immediately begin assessing needs in these states and providing emergency relief. The Farmers Legal Action Group will also step in with information they have developed on how farmers can access federal disaster programs.

For twenty years, Farm Aid has responded to many weather-related disasters that have pushed family farmers to the brink of ruin. Already, there is an outpouring of desire among farmers and farm groups to help other farm families affected by Katrina. “Fortunately, we can convene our farm group partners across the country to develop additional longer-term actions that Farm Aid and its donors can support,” added Farm Aid Executive Director Carolyn Mugar.

While the full extent of the damage to family farms is still unknown, Farm Aid representatives have been told that the infrastructure of many rural southeastern communities has been devastated and will take months to repair. That means many farm families are facing an extended period without phone service, electricity, clean water or modes of transportation. In addition, major crop losses are anticipated as many crops were just a week or two from being harvested when the hurricane hit. Without transport or feed for farm animals, livestock and poultry farmers face serious challenges to keep their animals alive over the coming days and weeks.

Farm Aid will hold its 20th Anniversary concert on September 18 in Tinley Park, IL, just south of Chicago. Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp held the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 in Champaign, IL to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land. Dave Matthews joined the Farm Aid Board of Directors in 2001. Farm Aid has raised more than $27 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture. Through public education and direct grants, Farm Aid supports national, regional and local efforts to build and strengthen family farm food production.

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contact John Crabtree, Center for Rural Affairs,

Center for Rural Affairs
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  • At 10:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just donated to Farm Aid an bought tickets to the concert. It is more than worth it.

  • At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am going to give money in response to Katrina relief efforts. I am also going to give a little more money to the Center for Rural Affairs than I usually do because I think rural folks, all over America, is going to suffer after Katrina. The poorer folks living in the country and little towns are going to feel it, not as bad as the people in News Orleans, and rural folks all over are going to feel it too.

    I have no idea how you spend $400 billion on a war in Iraq and $150 billion on a bothced response to a hurricane with going broke. But the boys running Washington will try to take it out on rural folks unless we do something about it. So I'm sending my money to the Center too.

  • At 4:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The Pasado Safe Haven from Washington state has rescued hundreds of animals in Louisiana since Katrina. Now they are getting people to rescue animals in Texas from Rita. They NEED A FARM or other place to use as a triage location.

    They say :
    "And we need a new triage location, on a farm or similar location WITH COVER near to Houston. PLEASE call your friends, family, post this everywhere to help us. We won't stop looking for animals in New Orleans, but we need to send teams to Texas. "

    Email them at
    Please cross post this wherever you can. Thank you so much.


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