A flooded grain elevator. Photo: Jo Naylor

Blog | April 5, 2019

Sierra Club Members Join Farm Aid in Supporting Flooded Farmers

by Caroline Malcolm Fiore

In the immediate aftermath of the Midwestern bomb cyclone that triggered historic flooding across the region last month, Farm Aid quickly activated the Family Farm Disaster Fund to raise and distribute critical funds to affected farm and ranch families. An appeal to our community of loyal supporters across the country brought in thousands of dollars for the Family Farm Disaster Fund in just a few short days. The rallying cry to stand with Midwestern family farmers and ranchers during this time was heard far and wide by committed citizens and like-minded organizations who understand the value of farmers and ranchers who steward our land, and protect our soil and water, while growing the food and fiber we all depend on.

“I’ve worked with [Farm Aid] before and no one does a better job of getting to work immediately after a natural disaster, helping farmers and ranchers and rural residents recover.” – John Crabtree

Seeing the flooding devastation firsthand ignited members of the Nebraska chapter of the Sierra Club to mobilize immediately. These members recognize the need for direct relief funds and know that Farm Aid directs 100% of the funds raised for the Family Farm Disaster fund to family farmers and ranchers navigating recovery. The Sierra Club looked to Farm Aid during this crisis because they share an understanding of the grave threat posed by disasters like this one. Like Farm Aid, the Sierra Club is deeply concerned that the Midwestern flooding is not an isolated incident, with the frequency of disasters increasing as a result of climate change and continuing to loom as the snow pack melts across the region this spring. This incredibly important agricultural region is particularly vulnerable to flooding, leading to catastrophic impacts on those who rely on farming and ranching for their livelihoods and all of us who eat.

John Crabtree, Campaign Representative for the Nebraska Beyond Coal Campaign, knew Farm Aid was the right partner for this effort. He said:

“We know that climate change, and the issues that we fight to address in our Beyond Coal Campaign, helped create the flooding that has impacted so many Nebraskans. But when I went to places like Winslow and Beemer, small Nebraska towns devastated by flooding, and when I saw the farmers and other rural Nebraskans living in the countryside around those communities, I knew that we had to do more. Fortunately, there were over 1,300 Sierra Club members from across the country that saw things the same way, and gave incredibly generously to flood relief efforts. And when it came to finding a partner to assist with putting that money to work on the ground, the first organization I turned to was Farm Aid. I’ve worked with them before and no one does a better job of getting to work immediately after a natural disaster, helping farmers and ranchers and rural residents recover. Without their help, we could not have made this happen.”

The Nebraska chapter shared accounts of the destruction with the Sierra Club’s entire base of over 3.5 million members and supporters to raise funds for groups working with those impacted by the disaster, including family farmers and ranchers. Well over one thousand Sierra Club members generously contributed nearly $62,000 to the Family Farm Disaster Fund, as well as directed other donations to groups working on-the-ground in the Midwest for other affected communities and evacuees.

The overwhelming response from Sierra Club members is truly inspiring. Farm Aid stands proudly with Sierra Club to defend our environment and provide crucial relief to farmers and ranchers in their time of need. This week, Farm Aid deployed Family Farm Disaster Fund contributions to our Midwest partner organizations who are distributing relief funds and tirelessly assisting farmers in navigating their options on the long road to recovery. Thank you to all of the Sierra Club members and Farm Aid supporters who donated to this effort. We could not do this important work without you.

Support the Family Farm Disaster Fund

Though our fundraising efforts have been successful, farmers and ranchers are not in the clear. The need is great and recovery from a tragic disaster like this will take months, if not years. The generosity of folks like you can make a difference in the lives of affected farmers and ranchers. If you’ve already donated, thank you. If you haven’t donated yet, there’s still time to provide immediate assistance to farmers and ranchers who are struggling now more than ever.

Please consider giving a gift to our Family Farm Disaster Fund today.

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