Dear Farm Aid Family,
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating extreme challenges and uncertainty for all of us, and I want you to know that I’m thinking about you. I also hope you see that there are sources of light all around us. Right now, those lights are our healthcare workers, our sanitation workers, the delivery drivers and postal workers and the people who keep our lights on.
Farmers, ranchers and those who work all along the food chain are also essential workers. They are doing their part by growing the food we need for every meal and making sure that it finds its way to us.
It can be easy to forget how much we need and appreciate one another when times are good, but it’s easy to remember when our hospitals are full and our shelves are running low.
Just like the rest of us, farmers face uncertainty too. Many have already lost access to the markets that keep them in business. Others are dealing with a drastic drop in the prices they receive for their products. Will they have enough income to pay their bills, their loans and to plant their crops? Will spring weather allow those crops to grow through harvest so they can be brought to market? Will those markets remain open? What will happen to their crops should they or their farmworkers become ill? These questions are especially important to us now, when we all need access to safe, good food.
Farm Aid is working hard to support farmers and ranchers in this difficult time. We’re making emergency grants to help with household and medical expenses. We’re answering our hotline to provide a listening ear during this time of extreme stress, and providing assistance in any way we can. We’re creating comprehensive lists of resources and investing in farmer-led solutions to navigate the crisis and we’re working with our partners to advocate for policies that meet this moment and build a more resilient food system for the future.
You can help too! Donate now, if you can, so that we can continue to provide these critical services to farmers.
We want to invite you to join us for a live performance event called At Home with Farm Aid this Saturday, April 11 at 8pm EDT / 5pm PDT, which which will air on AXS TV and be streamed online. I’ll be plugging in from my home with my sons Lukas and Micah Nelson – along with Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews from theirs – for a virtual show of support and solidarity for family farmers and ranchers. Our goal is to raise as much as we can to demonstrate our commitment to them.
Times of crisis give us each an opportunity to make a difference, in big ways and in small. We truly understand that not everyone is in a position to offer financial support right now. If you are able to give, family farmers sure could use it and are grateful for any amount. And if you’re unable to give to Farm Aid, we hope you might be able to invest some of your food dollars in the farmers and farmers markets in your community. And if you’re unable to give to Farm Aid, check out other ways you can support family farmers at this time.
On the Farm Aid stage last September, my friend and fellow board member John Mellencamp said, “Be hopeful about, have faith in, and be grateful for right now; the miracle of life is in the dirt under our farmers’ fingernails.” He was right and I’m so grateful for the farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers who are on the front lines sustaining all our communities.
Now, more than ever, stay strong and positive.
P.S. We hope you can also join us for a special broadcast of the Best of Farm Aid 2019 on AXS TV this Sunday, April 12, from 8-10:30pm EDT / 5-8:30pm PDT.