Neil Young puts down his guitar and picks up his pen today on behalf of family farmers. In an essay in the Boston Globe, Young argues that tight credit, declining prices, natural disasters, and the overall economic gloom has many of them on the brink. The situation is as dire as it was in the 1980s, before the federal government freed up credit for farmers and allowed loan restructuring. It's time for a similar remedy, says Young.
"The USDA, with help from other agencies, should restore fair credit, prices, and practices for family farmers," he writes. "As Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack makes plans to implement the 2008 Farm Bill, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would be well served to consider lessons from the 1980s and extend loan protections under the federal bailout to family farmers, preventing home foreclosures and bankruptcy among farmers and ranchers."