Buoyed By Concerts, Farm Aid Awards $611,000 In Grants

The Farm Aid organization continued its work for America's farmers this week awarding $611,000 in grants to family farmers throughout the U.S.

The charitable organization was founded by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young almost 15 years ago, and is perhaps best known for its annual benefit concerts. Farm Aid says that much of the money for this new batch of grants came from the 1999 Farm Aid concert in Washington, DC which featured the Dave Matthews Band, Barenaked Ladies, Hootie and the Blowfish and others in addition to Young, Nelson, and Mellencamp.

So far, the group has doled out more than $15 million since its formation, and has now given out some $718,000 this year.

"The harder it gets for family farmers to make a living, the harder we will fight to keep them on their land," Nelson said in a statement announcing the grants. "When we came to Washington this year, we told our leaders that we can't afford to let factories grow our food. Family farmers produce

the best food, and farm policy needs to change so we can be sure our family farmers will survive."