Local band raises money and awareness for struggling farmers and food pantries

WEST SALEM, Wis. (WKBT) – It’s no secret that dairy farmers have been struggling. But one local band is doing what they know best to help.

“We play country music,” said Pat Watters, lead singer and guitarist for The Pat Watters Band.  The band has country roots.

“We’re a very Wisconsin brand, and a very Wisconsin band. There’s nothing more Wisconsin than dairy farming,” said Watters.

That’s what caught the eye of the president of the West Salem-Bangor Future Farmers of America Alumni group.

“We challenged the Pat Watters Band to a 10 gallon challenge,” said Zack Magnuson, president of the West Salem-Bangor Future Farmers of America Alumni.

And they happily accepted. They donated 10 gallons of milk from local farms to a food pantry.

“We decided as a band we could do better than that,” said Watters.

So, they created some band merchandise to raise even more funds…The shirts say Cows, Milk, Cheese, Butter and Country music. All things they’re passionate about..

“I don’t think there’s a diary farmer in our area who isn’t struggling in some way, shape or form. The money’s not there like it used to be,” said Watters.

“Food pantries, they’re always gracious to receive the donations too,” said Magnuson.

The shirt sales raised a little over $500.

“And now we’re in a spot where we’re challenging other clubs, organizations, businesses in the area to match that $500 donation,” said Watters. “The need is there.”

“One group will donate some this week, next week we’ll get together and they’ll donate some next week, so then families can keep coming back for more of the goods,” said Magnuson.

Keeping the momentum going, the band decided to spread awareness in the best way they can.

“I was just moved in that moment to do something, that I think would tell that story in a way that people could hear it, so we wrote a song called the Right Way,” said Watters.

The limited edition shirts are no longer available, but the farming inspired song, ‘The Right Way,’ will be released within the coming weeks.