Martina McBride is one of the biggest country stars of her generation, but before she made it big in Nashville, she was living in Kansas, where she was raised on a dairy farm. That background inspired her to partner with Country Crock for its The Cover Crops Project, a sustainability initiative that provides education and financial resources for farmers.
"I'm a Kansas farm girl. I grew up in Kansas on a farm," McBride told PopCulture.com for our series PopCulture @ Home. "My father is a third-generation farmer. So I have a real understanding of farmers and the challenges that they face and Country Crock, depends on farmers in Kansas. So they've started a thing called the cover crops project and they've chosen me to kind of get the word out about what cover crops are."
The Cover Crops Project is encouraging farmers to integrate cover crops into their farming practices by providing education, technical assistance and funding to defray related costs. The project began on Sept. 22 in partnership with No-till on the Plains with a goal of enrolling 13,000 acres of cover crops in eastern Kansas and western Missouri.
McBride explained that cover crops are crops that are planted in between cash crops. Typically, cover crops are green manures like legumes and grasses that are used to bring a number of benefits to the farm they are planted on.
"It's so beneficial for the soil, which is obviously the lifeblood of farming," she said. "It's important to keep the soil healthy. You know, it puts nutrients back into the soil, It helps suppress weeds, it helps prevent soil erosion. It's just great to protect the soil between planting seasons. And they've committed to helping 80 farmers, plant 13,000 acres of cover crops. I'm a mom of three girls, so sustainability is really important to me as well. So it's just a great initiative and I'm really happy to be the one to kind of spread the word about it."
This fall, the singer is also extending her support to new artists with the Red Barn Sessions, which will feature Gabby Barrett and Jimmie Allen in one-on-one interviews with McBride and performances that will be available to stream at CountryCrock.com. "Being able to support new artists like Gabby Barrett and Jimmie Allen with these Red Barn Sessions is really important to me as well," McBride said. "So I'm looking forward to it. I can't wait."
McBride was recently able to perform virtually herself for an upcoming project, reuniting with her band after months apart. "We really hadn't played music together for almost a year," she said. "We did my Christmas tour, The Joy of Christmas, but the whole band being together playing, the hits hadn't really happened for almost a year. So it was very, very sweet."