Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid Announces Plans For A “Major Farmer Mobilization In Washington” In March 2023


In advance of Saturday’s (Sept. 24) annual Farm Aid benefit concert for family farmers in Raleigh, N.C., the organisation announced plans for “a major farmer mobilisation in Washington” in March 2023 to advocate for federal support of climate resilient agriculture.


The march, scheduled for the week of March 6, will be “a mobilisation the likes of which we have not seen since the 1970s, tentatively called Farmers for Climate, a rally for resilience,” Farm Aid cultural impact director Michael Stewart Foley announced during a live-streamed press conference preceding the concert at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park in Walnut Creek.

During the press conference, Farm Aid co-founder and board member John Mellencamp recalled how “[Willie Nelson] and I made the effort” to testify before a Congressional subcommittee on behalf of family farmers in the 1980s. And he was left with the impression that “the government… doesn’t care about you, doesn’t care about anything but greed.”


“So it’s going to take good people like you,” Mellencamp told the pre-concert audience of farmers and activists. “I’m going to Washington, D.C., because politics in the United States has gotten so out of hand these days.” We’ll take a school bus and go down together.”

The mobilisation strategy is the result of discussions among “35 farm, food, climate [and] social justice organisations that are actively working on this,” according to Foley, citing Farm Aid’s partnership with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.


“Farm Aid hears farmer voices practically every day of the year,” he explained. “What we require is for Congress to hear those voices. It is especially important now, as Congress begins to draught the next Farm Bill.” This legislation, which is updated every five years, determines federal funding for a wide range of agricultural programmes.

“Congress needs to hear from farmers that they rely on a Farm Bill that delivers climate solutions — climate solutions that prioritise what works for family farmers, address on-farm climate challenges, and centre racial justice,” Foley said.

“So, to ensure that Congress receives this message, farmers will deliver it in person, peacefully, I might add,” Foley explained. “Over three days the week of March 6, farmers will march and rally — and we will be there with them.” Music will be played. We’re hoping that some of the artists who attend Farm Aid every year will join us.”

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