I recently had the opportunity to watch Farmland: The Movie. This documentary follows six young farmers and their families exposing the joys and challenges of production agriculture. It was good to see the diversity of the farmers featured; small, large, conventional and organic and from all corners of the U.S.
As I watched, I found myself relating to these farm families when they spoke about the risks farmers face, how dependent we are on the weather, that it’s necessary to work long hours to get crops into the ground, and the commitment we have to animal care. It displayed how generations of family members are involved in the farm. And how we in production agriculture are at the mercy of factors beyond our control; the weather, the price paid for our finished product, input costs and government policy/regulations.
One scene that particularly moved me was during Christmas when a little boy opened his present, a toy combine. He was thrilled to have a piece of equipment like Dad uses. This young man dreams of becoming a farmer. The father of this boy shared his hopes and reservations about his son entering production agriculture. This experienced farmer has seen good times and bad. He’s seen some years of profitability and times when he almost lost everything. That’s the reality of farming.
As a dairy farmer’s daughter with children who may become dairy farmers someday, I can relate to the mixed emotions parents feel when thinking about their children following in their footsteps. On one hand, there are rewards and satisfaction with this occupation and lifestyle. On the other hand, there is a lot of risk, long hours, and many challenges.
This film accurately portrays farm families. If you’re looking for true stories about food production, I encourage you to watch this movie. It will be in select theaters May 1st. Soon after that, on DVD and Netflix.
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