Farm Aid Concert in Fresno?

July 27, 2009 10:18:44 AM PDT
One Fresno state faculty member believes a rock concert could drum up awareness for all the troubles facing Valley farmers. Next month several big name groups like John Mellencamp, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson will be here performing at Chukchansi on one ticket.

Since they are some of the leaders of Farm-Aid, one Fresno State faculty member is trying lure them back for a follow up concert next year to address the Valley's dire agricultural situation.

Live rock. Loud music. And it's all to benefit farmers.

This Farm-Aid concert outside of Boston, Massachusetts last year is exactly what Mike Dozier wants to bring to Fresno. "I just couldn't believe that as big an agriculture that we have and some of the problems we have that Farm Aid has never been in California," said Dozier.

Dozier oversees community and economic development for Fresno State. He said after asking for Farm-Aid support on Facebook, 600 people responded within two weeks.

"We appreciate anybody who helps us tell our story," said former president of the Fresno Farm Bureau Paul Betancort.

Betancort said problems continue to get worse on the county's west side due to drought.

"At the beginning of the year it was zero percent water now we're up to a whole 10%," he said. And unemployment continues to rise. "We got 40-thousand people who have lost their jobs."

Dairy farmers have already sent thousands of cows to slaughter to save money.

Betancort: "They've been upside down with the low milk prices and high production costs."

Betancort supports the concert but said legislation must be adopted to save farms and their workers.

Betancort: "Fill the reservoir back up so we can irrigate and grow so food and provide some jobs. That's the kind of thing we need."

Dozier believes a Farm-Aid concert with big names like John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson and the Dave Matthews Band is a good start.

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