By AMY LORENTZEN, Associated Press Writer
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Country singer Willie Nelson hooked up with Rep. Dennis Kucinich on Saturday to help the Ohio congressman pitch his plan to help family farmers.
Kucinich, who is facing eight others in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, said he wants to end agricultural monopolies, including banning meatpacker ownership of livestock, and require country-of-origin labeling on agricultural products to help farmers compete in a market that he said continues to crush them.
"A president, if he is going to protect the family farmers, is going to need to break up some of these agricultural monopolies that make it impossible for family farmers to survive," Kucinich said at a news conference before a rally in the eastern Iowa city of Dubuque.
Nelson, founding performer and president of Farm Aid, the annual concert that raises money for family farmers, praised Kucinich's commitment to rural America.
"Finally, we have a guy who is standing up for the small family farmer," Nelson said at the rally. "Agriculture, our raw materials, are what we need to take care of. There's a way to do that, a way to make it strong again, and Dennis knows the way to do that."
Nelson plans to put on a concert for Kucinich in Iowa, where precinct caucuses launch the presidential nominating season. That concert was postponed from September until later in the fall.
Another concert is scheduled for Cleveland.