Willie Nelson performs at Farm Aid 2016. Photo © Sabine Carey

Blog | September 15, 2020

A letter from Willie Nelson: “We’re all in this together, and together we’ll help each other through it.”

by Willie Nelson

Dear Farm Aid Family,

A lot has changed since I last wrote to you. The challenges we’re facing right now are difficult, especially for those who are doing their best to provide essential services. Farmers, of course, are always on my mind; they’ve been working hard to feed us. My thoughts are with these essential workers – and they’re with you, too. We’re all in this together, and together we’ll help each other through it.

Normally, I’d be telling you how excited we are to bring the Farm Aid festival to a different part of the country to celebrate family farmers and ranchers through good food and music. We’d also shine a light on the challenges they face. In fact, this year is Farm Aid’s 35th anniversary. We’d been planning to use it to remind folks how important soil health is to fighting climate change. Our farmers play a critical role in stewarding our soil, water and climate.

But this year is different. There won’t be a sold-out music venue with tickets sales going to raise critical funds for family farmers this year. There won’t be the usual lines for food grown and sourced from family farms at our HOMEGROWN Concessions® stands. There won’t be a HOMEGROWN Village to introduce folks to things like the importance of soil health or the joys of composting. The global COVID-19 pandemic has not just disrupted our plans. It has taken lives and livelihoods from our families, misused our agricultural workers and shaken our communities.

Farm Aid is committed to being there for our family farmers, but we can’t do it without your support. Won’t you please consider a gift of $75 or any amount you can? Every donation makes a real difference and shows farmers how much they mean to us when we need them most.

One word I keep hearing folks use to describe how they’re coping these days is familiar to me and to family farmers and ranchers everywhere. That word is resilience and you’ve probably heard me use it before.

Farmers know what it means to be resilient because it’s something they’ve always had to be. They’re resilient when it rains too much or too little. They stand strong when crop, livestock and dairy prices fall and farm income declines year after year. They persevere when fires, hurricanes and other natural disasters destroy the farms they depend on. And they’ve put their resilience to use as the COVID pandemic has shuttered their markets and disrupted their businesses.

Since the start of the pandemic, Farm Aid has worked tirelessly to answer our hotline and get immediate relief to farmers and ranchers around the country. We quickly created the COVID-19 Resilience Initiative to disburse more than $400,000 in emergency household grants to hundreds of farm families through more than 120 partner organizations across the US. These critical resources have been paired with long-term resilience strategies, resources and advocacy to further strengthen our food producers for the future.

Your support matters, maybe more than you know. Those $500 emergency grants help to keep the lights on at home, medical bills paid, and food on the table – and access to good, healthy food is something all our families need to remain resilient, healthy and hopeful.

Please, if you can, make a gift right now to keep our essential family farmers on the land in your community. We need them just as much as they need us.

Stay Strong and Positive,

Willie Nelson
President, Farm Aid

P.S. I’m very excited to share recent news that while we may not be able to gather in person this year, we are planning a virtual festival on Saturday, September 26.

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