by Alison Bonaguro
No matter how unprecedented the current state of the pandemic feels for all of us, one of the hardest hit communities right now is the farming families who feed America day in and day out, quarantine or not.
And early on Thursday morning (Oct. 29), a new virtual country music concert was announced to help those farmers who need it the most. The Farm Must Go On show by John Deere will feature performances from Maddie & Tae, Travis Denning, Mickey Guyton, Dustin Lynch, Tyler Farr and more who will be on stage live from Nashville’s Brooklyn Bowl. The show will be available to stream on YouTube here.
The goal of the two-hour show is to honor how innovative, industrious and resilient farmers are, and to take donations — although the show itself is free — that will benefit Farm Rescue, a nonprofit group that has helped hundreds of farmers suffering from all kinds of catastrophies to plant, hay or harvest their crop. No donation is too big or too small, and select donors will have the chance to win a one-on-one virtual meet-and-greet with the artists.
To put the farmers’ crops in perspective, on average, each farm feeds 166 people. So even one missed planting season or one missed harvest due to something like COVID-19 has a ripple effect:
Dairy farms are facing economic hits from decreasing demand due to restaurant, school and hotel closures; rural areas often rely on off-farm income for help with health coverage and to offset losses, meaning the nation’s unemployment can have extreme impact on operating margins; and reduced driving during the quarantine has decreased the demand for grains used in biofuels.
And that’s where Farm Rescue comes in, with volunteers ready to step in to help farmers get their crops planted or harvested, ensuring food on our tables and giving a boost to that family farm. The proceeds from The Farm Must Go On show will provide meals and lodging for the volunteer workforce, fuel for vehicles and machinery, and support for the farm families who make it effortless to feed our own families.
Alison makes her living loving country music. She’s based in Chicago, but she’s always leaving her heart in Nashville.