Thursday, May 01, 2014

'Farmland,' a movie about young farmers, aimed to improve farming's image, makes formal debut today

A documentary being released today in theaters follows the daily lives of six farmers and ranchers in their 20s. It is funded by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, which was created to improve the public image of agriculture. The movie lets viewers "step inside the world of farming for a first-hand glimpse into the lives of young farmers and ranchers," says its website. "Learn about their high-risk/high reward jobs and passion for a way of life that has been passed down from generation to generation, yet continues to evolve." (Read more)

"The footage doesn’t foster any idyllic stereotypes; it captures real-world farm frustrations, joys and fears, dirt and mud and manure and all," writes Farm and Dairy Editor Susan Crowell. "More than anything, I’m hoping enough non-farm viewers see Farmland to realize some very simple truths: Farmers care about their land and livestock and crops. Deeply. This life is not easy. It’s hard work, with long hours. And no matter how hard you work, you’re still at the mercy of the weather and the markets. This life is not easy." (Read more)

One of the farmers profiled, Margaret Schlass of Marshall, Pa., said the documentary "shows her as 'a young person in the community, trying to do something good …. and trying to build something from the ground up, that positively impacts the community,'" Deborah Deasy reports for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Schlass, who sells certified naturally grown vegetables, told Deasy, “That's why I did the film, so that people could see a first-generation farmer farming, and how hard it is, and all the struggles that they have to endure." (Read more)

"This is an important film for each of us in agriculture to see," LaVell Winsor writes for Farm Futures. "Equally important as it is for you to see the film is for you to take a friend who may not have a farm background. Discussing this film is a great way to open dialogue about what you do on your farm and how your farm fits into the food chain. . . . The most striking is to see the reaction to the film and get the questions and the comments about what they didn't understand about agriculture, and how they're more at ease with livestock production," Winsor writes. "One of the most powerful moments in the film is listening to how these young producers care for their animals; so much of the time that's misrepresented in the mass media." (Read more)
A review of the film will appear later.

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