farmer in tractor from behind by spencer pugh
Photo by Spencer Pugh on Unsplash

Blog | April 11, 2018

In 2017, Farm Aid tripled our emergency grants to farmers

by Joe Schroeder

A young farmer holds back tears as his entire herd of dairy cows are auctioned off.

A fourth-generation farmer realizes the only choice he has is to sell the family land, while his children grieve that they’ll never go back home to the farm.

A century-old dairy farm is forced to transition to growing vegetables because the price of milk has been so low for so long. Now they struggle to hang on until spring when they’ll finally have a crop to sell.

A young couple decides to give up the dream of their own farm because even though they work their fingers to the bone, they still can’t make the numbers work.

We hear stories like these every day on our hotline, 1-800-FARM-AID. To us, they’re not just stories, not just numbers. They are the terrible, day-to-day realities of farm families as they struggle to get by with farm income that has been cut in half over the last five years. In some cases, especially for dairy farmers, there’s no income at all because prices are so low and production costs so high. Farmers are dedicated and innovative, but even they can’t perform the kind of magic that’s needed to turn low prices and high costs into a positive number that sustains the farm and their family.

At Farm Aid, we answer every hotline call and do the best we can to connect farmers to useful resources. But as the farm economy continues to falter, the number of farmer calls and the complexity of their situations keeps escalating.

In 2017, Farm Aid tripled our emergency grants to farmers. In 2018, we’re on track to triple that number again.

Emergency grants help farmers keep the heat on, put food in the pantry, and pay medical bills that threaten to drive farm families into endless debt. We hear directly from farmers that emergency grants are a lifeline when all else seems lost. Your support ensures that Farm Aid can provide this lifeline to farm families who turn to us in their time of need.

Farming is different from other jobs. It’s a livelihood, but it’s also a way of life, often passed down for generations. When prices are low, it’s not easy for farmers to make quick changes or to find a new job. And the threat of losing the farm can take a heavy toll—on finances and the farmers themselves. Farmers shouldn’t have to go it alone. Farmers need your support today to stay on the land. Your donation makes certain that Farm Aid can answer the call for each farmer and work on the overarching issues that put farmers in these precarious situations.

Please give a gift to sustain family farmers and a future of good food for all of us.

Every time we lose a family farmer, we lose a caretaker of our water and soil, and we run the risk of losing that land forever. Thanks for joining me to fight for every family farmer.

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