"I think it's real important to understand the world gets fed by these farmers"


Country singer Luke Bryan just wrapped up a very special six town tour. This year marked the 10th annual Luke Bryan Farm tour, a project that is very near and dear to the son of Georgia peanut farmer turned country music mega star. It's exactly what it sounds like. Bryan, his crew, and often a few special guests, show up in small towns across America and throw one heck of a party in the middle of farmer's field.

The Farm Tour's origins date back to before Bryan hit his current major star status and they were simple affairs with just a couple thousand people. Now, a decade on, Bryan is one of the biggest names in music and the tour attracts over 100,000 fans.

"Our goal was to bring a show into towns like the one I grew up in that normally wouldn't get this kind of opportunity while honoring the American farmer at the same time," Bryan said in a statement.

Southern Living spoke with Bryan recently about how it all comes together and just how special this tour is to him.

"I grew up in a farming family and a farming community…and I think it's always important for people of all walks of life throughout the whole country, when they sit down, and they eat tomatoes, and corn, and vegetables, and even cereal, {that} they know it comes from an honest place. It comes from someone out there working hard."

That is the mission of this unique tour. He's bringing the music, the people, and most importantly, the attention, right to these farms and farmers. "I think it's real, real important to understand…the world gets fed by these farmers."

As the tour grew and gained more attention, so too did Bryan's reach. He wasn't just drawing attention to America's farmers. He was raising money to help them too. And he didn't just stop there. Bryan developed a partnership with Bayer and together, their financial reach multiplied. He was making financial and product donations to the farmers, but he was also making donations to the local law enforcement and then came the scholarships. Bryan and his team find students in each of the towns where they stop on tour who have an interest in going to school to study agriculture. So, the impact of the Farm Tour isn't just an immediate boost to the men and women of the farms they invade, Bryan is making an investment into the future of American farming. To date he's given away over 50 scholarships. Bryan noted that he receives thank-you notes from those scholarship recipients that he loves to read. And we here at Southern Livingsay hats off to those kids. Their mamas taught them right.

"I think when you wake up one day and you're able to see truly how blessed you are from just picking up a guitar and doing something you love…As long as I am in this business and enjoying the success, I will always try to incorporate layer upon layer of charitable stuff in the mix," Bryan said.

Bryan's partner, Bayer, has also jumped in to lend a helping hand. They launched the "Here's to the Farmer" campaign, which asks fans to share the hashtag #HeresToTheFarmer on social media to show appreciation to America's farmers. And with those shares, meals are donated to Feeding America. To date, over 2 million meals have been donated, as well as nearly $200,000 dollars donated to area food banks.

"I don't think farmers wake up every day wanting recognition and sympathy. It's probably the same element that soldiers, policemen, teachers, and firemen {feel} you know, but just the fact that occasionally somebody pats them on the back and lets them know that they're being thought about is typically all a farmer wants."

Bryan continued, "We've certainly enjoyed being able to give back as much as we can."

If you would like to continue Luke Bryan's efforts, you can donate directly to Feeding America here.