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About 40,000 music fans crowded into a stadium here on Saturday for Farm Aid V, a rocking, celebrity-studded benefit for America's farmers.

Concert organizer Willie Nelson kicked off the fifth annual extravaganza.

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Since it was founded in 1985, Farm Aid has raised more than $10 million to support farm organizations, rural crisis hotlines, churches, and service agencies in 41 states.

Thousands of farmers and their families joined the crowd of music fans, hoping to focus attention on the dwindling number of family-owned and operated farms and paid $25 to $45 a ticket.

David Senter, national director of the American Agricultural Movement, said: "It looks as though we are slowly losing the fight to retain our agriculture base. I'm hoping the people will see this as a way to demand our national leaders to address rural issues."

Nancy Johnston, a Missouri farmer, brought her two sons to the show. "Times have been better recently for us, but a lot of our neighbors are still having trouble making it," she said. "I feel like this is a way we can show our support."

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