A great new campaign was launched today during Farm Progress 2014 – “I am Farmland”. Many of you may have had the opportunity to see the documentary, “Farmland” this year in theaters. Now, for those who missed it on the big screen, the film will be coming to a TV near you. According to Randy Krotz, CEO with U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), the new campaign is raising funds to help get the movie not only ready for DVD release, but also to be used in schools, churches, available via Netflix and Hulu and more.
Krotz explained that the reason USFRA was formed, and why they are supporting Farmland, is to bridge the gap between consumers around the understanding of food production and the film has gone a long way down that path. The film represents all types of production and Krotz said what consumers have said is that the film does a good job of balancing the story around these different types of production. He also said that the film helps raise the bar on what consumers understand conventional agriculture to be.
I asked Randy what a few things the film did well to address consumer misperceptions. He said that many have in their mind farms under corporate control and they don’t understand these are families running these farms. “So as much as anything we saw the level between organic and conventional, the understanding that these are family farms and that 95 percent of the family farms are family run. And this was one thing we constantly heard – that there was really little understanding of that.”
Anyone can support the I am Farmland campaign (I did) by going to www.iamfarmland.org.
Listen to my interview with Randy Krotz: Interview with Randy Krotz, USFRA
I also had the opportunity to speak with one of the farmers and ranchers featured in the film, Brad Bellah from Throckmorton, Texas. One thing that is so cool about Brad is that while most Americans are three generations from the farm, Brad is a sixth generation rancher on the Throckmorton ranch and ranching goes back even decades further in his family. His farm runs stocker cattle on wheat and grass and they also have a commercial cow/calf operation – both all natural and registered operations. So one night he received a call from director James Moll asking him to participate in the film and Bellah said that he was skeptical about him, as he and many are of media, but decided to participate and he is pleased with the depiction of his family and how the film has portrayed agriculture.
The director spent the days working with Bellah and his family and what he hopes that consumers get out of the film is that, “…their food is raised by trustworthy human beings like myself and others depicted in the film and Americans should be very proud of their food source,” said Bellah.
He also noted that those in agriculture have been very appreciative of his participation in the film and the promotion of the film and he said many have told him that no matter what type of farmer or producer they are, they can relate. And Bellah stressed that if consumers only take one message from the film, it is that America’s food is the safest in the world.
Listen to my interview with Brad Bellah: Interview with Brad Bellah, Farmland Movie Star
View the Farm Progress 2014 Flicker photo album.