Written by KEN MOORE
Produced by ROBERT POTTER
Arkansas Farm Bureau Public Relations
Arkansas Farm Bureau, along with the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance and BASF, sponsored a private screening of “Farmland” in Rogers on May 17.
Around 200 invited guests attended the Arkansas premier, directed by Academy Award winner James Moll. The documentary offers an intimate look into the lives of six young farmers and ranchers in their '20s who are now responsible for running their family farms.
Following the screening, the audience participated in a panel discussion with a young farmer, young rancher and a professor of ag communications from the University of Arkansas. One of them was Grant Keenen, a 34-year-old cattle rancher from Farmington in Washington County.
“The Farmland documentary will get the message out. It is exactly what our urban friends, even our rural, non-farm family friends need to see,” said Keenen. “They need to know where their food and fiber and their shelter comes from. Without agriculturalists, without production agriculturalists, especially in the United States, how are we going to feed the world? The world population is growing every day, and this movie right here will help further, or help portray our story to the public and let them know we have to have farmers. We have to have young farmers, we need our middle-aged farmers and our old farmers to all continue so that we can feed the future and current generations of the country.”
In the 78-minute film, produced with financial support of the USFRA, each family offers their perspective on a variety of topics, including sensitive issues like genetically modified crops and animal welfare.
Among those in the audience was Harrison Pittman, director of the National Agricultural Law Center at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
“I definitely would encourage people to watch "Farmland," but in general learn more about the industry,” said Pittman.
“It’s interesting, it’s dynamic. The people that do it are very interesting. If a person’s never gone out to a dairy farm and talked to grandma and grandpa. Their family’s out there. The amount of labor and the time and energy and the expense and the risk involved, they haven’t lived yet. They need to go out and see what they do.”
The film is being shown in select theatres across the country and will be available to targeted colleges and high schools, as well as on-demand video services such as Netflix and Hulu.