“She-I-E-I-O”

By Adam Campbell-Schmitt
August 21, 2018

Sometimes a song is so ingrained in our culture, the thought of changing it up in any way doesn’t even cross our minds. Take, for example, “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” a ditty which has been more of a mechanism to make/teach animal noises than it has a comment on the U.S. agriculture and livestock industry. But lyrics matter, especially when it comes to representation. That’s why, finally, for 2018 the classic kiddie song has been given a much-needed remix to recognize the contributions of an often overlooked group: women farmers.

Just in time for Women’s Equality Day on August 26, dairy giant Land O’Lakes and its cooperative of nearly 1,800 farmers have put together a music video with the help of some stellar country music talent to highlight the approximately one-third of American farmers who are women. Titled “She-I-O,” the new song does away with the mooing and oinking here and there, and instead tells a much different story with lyrics like: 

You know Old MacDonald had a daughter
She-I-E-I-O
Look what she does with what he taught her 
She-I-E-I-O
She's got the future in her hands
She's proud her roots are where she stands

"'She-I-O' serves as a rallying cry for women breaking stereotypes, not just in dairy farming, but in every industry," singer Maggie Rose said in a statement. Helping to write the words to that anthem was Liz Rose, a Grammy Award-winning songwriter who has crafted lyrics for the likes of Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and Little Big Town. The song debuted on SoundCloud and a music video premiered on Maggie Rose’s YouTube page (it will be available on iTunes on August 24). Check it out below:

Interviews with some of the farmers featured in the music video and more information about Land O’Lakes’ All Together Better initiative can be found here. In addition to the statement being made by “She-I-O,” Land O’Lakes is also using the song as a way to give back. With every share, comment, or tag made on the video on Land O’Lakes’ or Maggie’s social channels, the company will donate $1 to Feeding America, up to $100,000 total (that’s as many as a million meals). 

But beyond the fundraising campaign, the great thing about a song is that it can live on for future generations to discover. “Like so many of us, I grew up singing 'Old MacDonald' when I was young," Maggie Rose said. "Where you hear the lines 'on his farm' and 'he had a cow,' it's nice to finally add in the other half of the population." 

Not only is it nice, it's enough to make you question why we haven’t been singing "she" this whole time.

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