"We didn't come back to the farm without reservation," he says. In the film, Executive Director Mugar says that while the fundraising was important—critically so, as many early small grants allowed farmers to buy groceries or pay their electricity bill—the awareness that the so-called “concert for America” raised was just as important. All Rights Reserved. As homes and farms are increasingly under fire again in the heartland, Homeplace Under Fire makes it clear that not only do we need a new generation of farmers, we must train and support a new generation of farm advocates to ensure that they’ll be able to stay on the land.
It’s a big deal.
Willie Nelson is also a key figure in this story. All https://www.barchart.com/solutions/ is provided by Barchart Solutions. Farmers who had borrowed money with high land prices as their collateral often couldn't find new loans, even for operating expenses. “Yeah, I guess so,” I said. Then in the 80s, land prices fell back down to earth. Farm Aid and the farm advocate network were important elements of a broad, multiracial, farmer-led movement in response to the crisis. “Homeplace Under Fire,” directed by Charles D. Thompson, Jr., and produced by Farm Aid, tells the story of the farmer advocates who learned the law and fought the foreclosures, helping an untold number of farmers stay on their land.
A slowdown in the early-80s became a crisis of the mid-80s. The administration also required that most farmers had to reduce their production acres by 10 percent to qualify for support payments. They lose their home, and in many cases, hundreds of years of someone living and farming that land.” Those losses took a serious toll: in the 1980s, more than 900 farmers committed suicide in the upper Midwest alone.
Land is the first requirement for growing a crop, and land prices reached new highs in the production rush of the 70s. If I had a choice, I was going to get a job at a university, at a public university. The knowledge gave them power, and the willingness—rare among farmers, especially in the Midwest—to stand up, make waves, and face tough conversations head on. That increased the cost of doing business for all businesses, including farming. Louisiana farmer Betty Puckett says, “My way of life was being taken away from me … When I found out there were ways to challenge it, I did.” Puckett was one of the many farmers, farm wives, and rural citizens who became farm advocates—ordinary people who saw the stress on their own farms and the changes in their neighbors, and decided to do something.
In the same vein as “The River,” “Country” chronicles the lives of Iowa farming couple Gilbert and Jewell Ivy, played by Sam Shepard and Jessica Lange, respectively. Meanwhile, Farm Aid has seen a 27 percent increase in calls and emails to its helpline in the last year, including a nearly 40 percent increase in farmers reporting potential or actual bankruptcy and more than a 50 percent increase in reports of problems with the Farm Service Agency, today’s government lending agency.
They increased production so much that there were record harvests between 1974 and '79. I knew I couldn’t stop them from killing me, and I was trying to bite off one of their fingers so I wouldn’t be a complete loser.”. Willie Nelson and the Origins of Farm Aid. ", Don Lee (right) says he became a university professor rather than a researcher for a seed company because of the farm crisis of the 80s. The situation was worst in the South, where discrimination against Black farmers by local U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offices was rampant; Black land loss during the farm crisis was five times the average. Some heroes run into burning buildings; the farm advocates taught themselves agricultural credit law. In 1985, at the height of the farm crisis, he organized the first Farm Aid concert in Champaign, Illinois, bringing together 50 acts and an audience of 80,000 people in under six weeks. Hank was profiled in a documentary called "After the Last Harvest," produced by the Nebraska Educational Television network in the 80s. Just last week, National Farmers Union launched an online Farm Crisis Center to provide resources for today’s struggling farmers. While costs of production are expected to go down as well, they will not drop to levels low enough to offset the income crash. A version of this post originally appeared on Ecocentric. We were making annual payments of $29,000 for land we could have rented for $8,000. I wanted to reduce the labor involved in bucketing cement to set iron posts in my feedlot. The crisis affected many personally. My wife and I bought our first farmland in 1980. Farmers did what they had in the past take their worst acres out of production and increase production on the rest.
The factors that produced the bust were powerful and varied . Three years later, it was worth half what we’d paid for it. My wife and I bought our first farmland in 1980.
I’m not sure I had a good plan. A partial bibliography of sources is here.