UPDATE: Farm Aid Organizers Stomp ‘Chicago Tribune’ Story

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — At a press conference held after the annual Farm Aid concert, Neil Young called an article about the organization in the Chicago Tribune “the sickest piece of journalism I’ve ever seen” and “a piece of crap.”

Young then tore up a copy of the paper and stomped on it, according to rival paper the Chicago Sun-Times.

Young was angered by a critical report that ran in the Tribune, stating Farm Aid contributed only 28 percent of its revenues to farmers last year.

“We are not purely raising money to give to farmers,” Young told reporters. “That’s only a small part of what we do. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year to the American farmer. That’s what we do. That costs a little bit of money.”

If those expenditures were included in the total, it would show that the charity spend 76 percent of its budget on its mission of helping farmers, with the remaining 24 percent going for administrative and fund-raising expenses, officials said.

According to Glenda Yoder, associate director at Farm Aid, that’s well above standards set by the Better Business Bureau and other charity watchdog groups that recommend charities spend at least 65 percent on program services.

She said that in addition to the $387,641 in direct checks it wrote to 57 groups supporting farmers, Farm Aid spent an additional $521,299 on services and programs that help farmers both directly and indirectly. Total expenditures were $1,189,754.

Young was also upset by a comparison in the Tribune’s article measuring the $853,000 bill for putting on Farm Aid in 2003 up against the $76,000 cost of his annual Bridge School Benefit concert in California.

Young pointed out the biggest difference: he gets the California venue for free.

He said that the article compared the cost “for Farm Aid to the cost of sound and lights for a concert that happens in the same place every year. The comparison is nonexistent.” –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers

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