Farm Aid returns to Hoosier state for Sept. 23


Farm Aid, a benefit concert that debuted in Champaign, Ill., in 1985, is coming to Indiana this September for the first time since 2001.

Its core leadership — musicians Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, Dave Matthews and Margo Price — will perform at the all-day music and food event, which spotlights farmers, agriculture and climate.

Farm Aid is returning to Noblesville’s Ruoff Music Center on Saturday, Sept. 23. Tickets went on sale to the public at 10 a.m. July 15 at LiveNation.com.

Ticket prices range from $75 to $315 and will be available for purchase at LiveNation.com.

It will feature performances by Farm Aid board members Nelson, Young, Mellencamp, Matthews (with Tim Reynolds) and Price. Also performing will be Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros featuring The Wolfpack, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Lukas Nelson, Allison Russell, The String Cheese Incident, and Particle Kid.

The festival will highlight the work of family farmers to address climate change through regenerative, organic and sustainable farming practices, according to a Farm Aid news release issued Tuesday morning. Farm Aid will showcase these innovative climate champions on the Farm Aid stage and throughout the event. As farmers and farm and food advocates converge from across the country for the annual festival, Farm Aid will host additional pre-festival events to spotlight their work.

This is the third Farm Aid concert that has taken place in Indiana, and the second in Noblesville. Farm Aid IV took place at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis in 1990, and Farm Aid 2001: A Concert for America was held in Noblesville just weeks after the terrorist attacks of 2001.

“Family farmers have the solutions to some of our toughest challenges,” Nelson, Farm Aid President and Founder, said in the news release. “As we face a changing climate, farmers in Indiana, across the Midwest and all over the country are farming in ways that create more resilient farms to build healthy soils and protect our water.”

Across Indiana, climate change has already had a considerable impact, Farm Aid said in its news release. In the coming years, climate change will shift the state to two extremes: hotter, drier summers and wetter winters and springs, creating more urgency for on-farm production practices that care for the soil and water, Farm Aid said.

“Indiana has the most polluted rivers and streams of any state, and almost all of Indiana’s lakes and reservoirs sampled in a recent study are unfit for drinking water. One of the main culprits is manure run-off from large-scale concentrated animal feeding operations,” Farm Aid said in its news release. “Many family farmers in Indiana are national leaders in implementing farming practices to mitigate climate change, including cover cropping, rotating crops, reducing soil tillage, integrating livestock and crop production, raising pastured livestock, and improving soil and water management.”

Mellencamp, Farm Aid co-founder, is a Hoosier native from Seymour. “We are honored and excited to bring the Farm Aid experience back to Indiana. My home state holds deep meaning for me and for the generations of family farmers who have dedicated their lives to caring for the Earth and bringing us good food,” Mellencamp said.

Indiana is the eighth largest farming state in the nation, generating $31.2 billion annually. Every 10 jobs directly related to Indiana agriculture support an additional eight jobs in the state. Home to 56,649 farms with an average farm size of 264 acres, there are more than 94,000 farmers in Indiana. More than 80% of land in Indiana is devoted to farms, forests and woodland. While its top crops are corn and soybeans, Hoosier farmers grow more than 30 major fruits and vegetables each year, including melons, pumpkins and mint.

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