Farm Aid could help embattled Vermont farmers

BURLINGTON-Country music star Willie Nelson is known everywhere. Thanks to his efforts with the annual concert called Farm Aid, which kicked off in 1985, the event has helped thousands of farmers across the USA. Now Farm Aid may be coming to Vermont to the aid of the state's embattled family dairy farms.

Owners of web-based WBKM in Burlington, Vt., are leading the effort to bring Farm Aid to the Green Mountain State. The group formed Farm Aid Vermont which is comprised of several northern Vermont businesses and several individuals who would like to see the high-profile benefit concert held here.

A fundraising event was held Sept. 29 to support the Farm Aid Vermont effort. A company donated money to each pizza sold for the event.

WBKM's Tony Gallucci said Farm Aid is needed in Vermont. He noted that 78 family farms have closed forever in Vermont since January of this year. One of Vermont's oldest farms, the Adams Family Farm in Wilmington, will close Oct. 31. The state's oldest farm, the Hurlburt Farm in New Haven-Monkton, was founded in 1801; it will likely close soon due to oppressive property taxes.

Gallucci said he would like to see the Farm Aid concert in Vermont next year but recognizes that it might not happen. Despite the odds, he said he will continue to lobby Farm Aid officials to bring the event to the Green Mountains State-either sometime in 2010 or later.

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