Farmland Documentary is coming to Illinois

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Washington D.C. Gets Sneak Peek of Documentary on FarmersFarmlandmovieins (1)

More than a year in-the-making, the USFRA used National Ag Day festivities in Washington, D.C. to offer the first, unrestricted viewing of the documentary it funded that follows the fortunes and misfortunes of six young U.S. farmers and ranchers.

USFRA, a national organization that includes Illinois Farm Bureau, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and some 80-plus other state Farm Bureaus and other commodity and ag-related organizations, funded “Farmland” in an effort to step up dialogue with consumers about today’s agriculture. James Moll, a filmmaker who has won Oscar and Emmy awards for previous documentary work, followed the young farmers and ranchers over a years time to document such things as weather challenges, decision-making, family strife and generally, why today’s farmers do what they do.

“In ‘Farmland,’ audiences hear thoughts and opinions about agriculture, but not from me, and not from a narrator,” said Moll. “They’re from the mouths of farmers and ranchers themselves.”

USFRA has used the entertainment industry before to try to reach consumers. For example, in late 2012, it established a partnership with the then-syndicated TV talk show “Anderson Live,” hosted by news anchor Anderson Cooper. The show sent a young mother from New York City to the Maple Park farm of Lynn and Mike Martz, both participants in the Illinois Farm Families® (IFF) program. The urbanite toured the Martz farm and learned, among other things, why the Illinois farm family uses biotech-enhanced seed. Appearing back on the TV show, she expressed a change in opinion about the benefits of biotechnology.

The “Farmland” documentary features young farmers who farm in California, Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Texas. While Moll didn’t include any farmers from Illinois, some of the ones featured, such as David Loberg from Nebraska, could be easily transplanted. Loberg said he chose to be part of the film to put a face behind food for consumers.

 “I feel it’s important that they know that it’s being grown by people who care about the product just as much as they do,” said Loberg.

USFRA showed segments of “Farmland” earlier this year at events such as the AFBF Convention and Commodity Classic, but made attendees sign “non-disclosure agreements” to try to keep its details low-key. The screening in Washington, D.C. in late March was followed by the movie’s public, national premiere at New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival in mid-April.

Illinois Farm Bureau, along with beef, corn, dairy, pork and soybean organizations that make up IFF, has been working with USFRA to organize the documentary’s Illinois premiere. A Chicago multiplex theater will host it for a week in early May. Another screening of “Farmland” will take place in suburban St. Louis. Additional theaters in Illinois have indicated an interest to the film’s distributor in showing the documentary.

Highlights of the movie and additional information can be found online at FarmlandFilm.com.

This story contributed by Farm Week writer, Mike Orso.

 

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Farmland Trailer

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Coming to theaters-

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