Harrisonburg, VA – It was 34 years ago that Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp came together in Champagne, IL for the first Farm Aid. Responding to the rise in bankruptcies and foreclosures of family farms in the 80s, they wanted to raise awareness and funds to help farmers in crisis. Over the decades, Farm Aid has grown into an organization providing financial and informational resources to help keep generational farming families on the land.
This mission is shared by Shenandoah Valley Organic (SVO), a second-year sponsor and supplier of organic chicken for HOMEGROWN Concessions® at the Farm Aid festival. SVO’s Farmer Focus brand is a manifestation of Farm Aid’s ongoing mission to raise up the family farmer in an environment of continued consolidation at the top. SVO is disrupting the industry by championing the changes that Farm Aid advocates for, including increased market transparency, an end to the tournament system, and establishing fair contracts.
This was the spark that caught fire with Corwin Heatwole, Founder & CEO of SVO. With deep roots in the agricultural community, Heatwole was familiar with Farm Aid and their influential work long before Farmer Focus was even a seed of an idea. So once SVO was up and running, it seemed natural to partner with an organization that has proven to value the farmer and the food chain.
“The conversation about the American farming crisis is getting louder, but it’s still not loud enough. The average age of a farmer is about 58 years old—10 years older than it was just fifty years ago. Protecting and supporting generational family farming has never been as important as it is today,” stated Heatwole. “We are demonstrating how a company can be successful while still promoting farmer prosperity and helping to ensure the land is fertile and profitable for generations to come,” he added.
Farm Aid 2019 will take place on September 21 this year at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in Wisconsin. In addition to finding Farmer Focus organic chicken throughout the venue, attendees will be able to meet some of the farmers that are part of the SVO family.
Shenandoah Valley Organic (SVO) was founded in 2014 by Corwin Heatwole, a life-long farmer who wanted to revolutionize his industry. Headquartered in Harrisonburg, VA, SVO is an organic meat company that prides itself on having the highest standards for raising animals while treating farmers with dignity and respect. Through SVO’s Farmer Focus Business Model, farmers are true partners and receive fair compensation for their hard work. SVO’s deep commitment to farmers, animals, and environmental stewardship results in high-quality products—ensuring a healthy source of nutrition through the most humane, clean, and safe processes possible.
About Farm Aid
Farm Aid’s mission is to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host an annual festival to raise funds to support Farm Aid’s work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family farm food. For more than 30 years, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised $57 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms.