Margo Price, whose acclaimed 2016 debut album was inspired by the loss of her family’s farm when she was a child, has joined the board of directors of Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid, the organization has announced.
When Price performed songs from “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter” in her first Farm Aid appearance in Bristow, Va. in 2016, she noted that her father had been forced by financial circumstances to give up their family farm in Illinois in 1984 — one year before Nelson launched Farm Aid amid widespread farm foreclosures.
Annie Nelson, a lifelong humanitarian and advocate for family farmers (and Willie’s wife) also has joined the Farm Aid board.
Price and Annie Nelson will work alongside Farm Aid founders Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp, artist board member Dave Matthews, and six other industry professionals who comprise the organization’s board: Dave Anderson, Richard Fields, Joel Katz, Lana Nelson, Mark Rothbaum and Evelyn Shriver. Founding board member Paul English, a longtime associate of Willie Nelson, died in 2002.
For 35 years, Farm Aid has staged a music and food festival to raise funds and awareness to support a vibrant and resilient family farm-centered agriculture system, and to help keep family farmers on their land. The organization has raised more than $60 million to support programs to help farmers thrive, expand the Good Food movement and promote food from family farms. As Farm Aid president, Willie Nelson signs every grant check distributed by the organization to its nonprofit partners.
In September, Price joined Matthews in an appearance on Good Morning America to announce Farm Aid 2020 On The Road, a virtual version of the festival, staged during the pandemic. Price is only the second artist to be added to the Farm Aid board of directors, following Matthews’ appointment in 2001.
“It is always a thrill to perform alongside my heroes on the Farm Aid stage, and it is one of the greatest honors of my life to become a member of the Farm Aid board,” said Price, in a statement from Farm Aid. “It’s been a dream of mine to help family farmers and communities across America ever since my family lost their farm in the fall of 1984 — a year before the first Farm Aid concert. I hope to use my voice to shine light on the issues of climate change, our health and the health of our soil and water, and most importantly, food justice.”
Annie Nelson — who met husband Willie shortly after the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 — has served a key role in the annual Farm Aid festival. For decades, she has worked to stand up for family farm agriculture and create opportunities for independent farmers, and has been an activist on many issues that positively impact America’s family farmers.
“I am honored to join Willie and the other members on Farm Aid’s board of directors,” said Nelson, in the statement. “I’ve witnessed the incredible strength and resilience of America’s family farmers through my involvement in Farm Aid, and I am eager to continue to help our family farm system thrive through this new role.”