On November 21, 2017, USA Today published Willie Nelson’s op-ed that offered a reminder to us as we come to the Thanksgiving table on Thursday. Read an excerpt below and click here to read the full piece on usatoday.com.
On Thanksgiving, remember family farmers and their challenges
They are the economic bedrock of rural communities. We should recognize that and help strengthen them.
I’ve spent most of my life on the roads of this great country. One of the unique benefits of this way of life has been the chance to really get to know folks and learn what’s going on in their lives. It gives me a sense of the nation’s pulse that is much more personal than anything we can get from news headlines.
These are hard times for too many. People are struggling, and many of us are growing more troubled by the divide that has erupted in America, separating neighbors and family members.
On Thursday, most of us will come to the table as families, friends, communities and a nation to celebrate our blessings. What people may not think about is that it’s the family farmer who brings us all together. We will gather over a meal that represents the year-round hard work of often-forgotten Americans — our family farmers. Farmers are working to stay on their land, all the while knitting communities together by providing healthy food and an economic bedrock for rural communities. This is an important time to recognize their efforts and do all we can to strengthen them.
In 2017, along with their neighbors, family farmers were hit hard by devastating natural disasters. With recent wildfires across the West and three devastating hurricanes in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, farmers in these areas experienced extreme if not complete loss of their businesses and homes — and, in many cases, a legacy of generations.
We’ve been uplifted by the outpouring of generosity for farmers who experienced these natural disasters, allowing them to tackle the immense recovery effort ahead. It means that fellow Americans understand their value not only as food providers, but as the heart of our communities.