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Jeff Corle      

Former Dairy Farmer, Mental Health Advocate & Singer; Known for "Empty Barn"

When economic factors beyond his control forced him to shut down his small dairy and sell his beloved Guernsey cows, Jeff Corle was left heartbroken and depressed, feeling that the door had forever closed on his dreams and happiness.

Little did he know the empty barn he was left with would be the very thing that would lead to his emotional recovery and nothing short of an entirely new direction in life. In the midst of his heartache and pain over the sale of his cows, Corle turned to an old friend for comfort, his guitar, and through tears, poured his heart out into what would become the viral hit song, "Empty Barn".

The success of "Empty Barn" garnered Corle legions of fans and opened the door to a totally unexpected career in country music. His story has garnered national media attention, shedding light on the plight of farmers and the mental health crisis many are facing. With depression and suicide rates at an all time high among American farmers, Corle saw a need for someone who’s been there to bare his soul and talk about his own battle with depression, suicidal thoughts, and overcoming loss and adversity.

Corle does this with a concept he calls a “Keynote Concert” where he tells his story by incorporating Empty Barn and other original songs into his heartwarming, inspiring, and uplifting talk as he takes the audience from his lowest lows to his highest highs. Because of his presence, the authenticity he brings to the stage, and the timely use of his songs, Corle can engage and move an audience like few other speakers can. Corle is a man who’s been to the brink. He’s a man who’s gone from heartache to happiness and from cows to country music! He’ll bring your audience to tears but leave them clapping and stomping in and out of their seats!

Speech Topics


This is my signature keynote address in which I tell my inspirational story of overcoming the loss of my farming business and the sale of my beloved Guernsey cows with spoken word, well-timed humor, and the interjection of my original songs, including the one that started it all, Empty Barn.

I take the audience on a journey from milking cows to country music, from heartache to happiness. Along the way, there'll be tears, laughter, and eventually pure joy as I engage and entertain the audience in a way that few other speakers can, leaving my audience dancing and clapping with the beat in and out of their seats!

That's why I call it a "Keynote Concert". It's far more than just a keynote address. And honestly, I couldn't really tell my full story without including the songs that now serve as mile markers along the way of my personal journey.

I find the interjection of my original music also adds a unique level of interest for the audience as they get a first-hand in person listen to exactly what I was thinking, feeling, and writing at that point in the story with the emotional intensity that only a heartfelt, well-written song can deliver. It helps me tell my story and its fun for the audience to listen.

My song "Empty Barn" opened doors for me that I never could have imagined the night I sat in my empty barn and wept. With now more than 120,000 YouTube views, features in national magazines and appearances on national TV, the only sense I can make of my whole unbelievable story is that the world needed this message and that somehow The Universe chose me to deliver it!

Farmer Mental Health: Suicide Prevention

I didn't realize in the run up to the sale of my dairy cows that I was in the midst of a full-blown mental health crisis.

I thought I was being strong by telling everyone that selling the cows and closing down the dairy was all for the best. Even as we loaded the cows on the trailer, I joked with the trucker about finally being able to sleep in. But inside I was being torn apart. The cows leaving felt like something was being ripped out of me.

It also spelled the end of four generations of dairy farming on our farm. My heart was breaking. My mind was racing/raging/reeling. I hadn't slept or eaten in days. I felt such physical pain in my heart and so much literal pressure in my chest that I feared I might have a heart attack at any minute.

All that while keeping a smile on my face. But the deep intense hurting led me to understand for the first time in my life what people meant when they said the pain was so great that they considered killing themselves just to end it.

I'm not a mental health expert, but I can tell my firsthand story of how I overcame a very deep personal loss to now find myself stronger and happier than ever. This talk is designed to be more specific about the mental health aspects of my story and touches on the suicidal thoughts I experienced at my low point and how I overcame them.

A key to my recovery and the thing that opened the door to my new life and career in country music was writing a song about my pain called Empty Barn. I tell the story of what led up to the sale of my cows, the emotional aftermath, and the writing of "Empty Barn" as a purely cathartic exercise, emphasizing the importance of getting my thoughts and emotions out and onto a page and sharing them with others as my way of asking for help. I incorporate my song "Empty Barn" into the talk.

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