One of the first people to come to the defense of SHIRLEY SHERROD , who lost her job earlier this week at the DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE  because a video tape was altered, was Country icon and FARM AID  founder WILLIE NELSON .
"While all family farmers in our country  face an uphill battle to stay on their land, growin g good food  for rest of us, black farmers have lost their land at an alarming rate, faster than any other family farmers. Lending discrimination and inequities in agriculture programs  are largely responsible  for the shrinking number of black farmers,” NELSON added.
Before joining the DEPT . of AGRICULTURE, SHERROD was the Director of the GEORGIA FIELD OFFICE  for the FEDERATION OF SOUTHERN COOPERTIVES/LAND ASSISTANCE FUND , where her and WILLIE first met.