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Farmland Film Review: From a Farmer's Standpoint

Farmland Film Review: From a Farmer's Standpoint
Two thumbs up for a film about American family farmers.

I have seen the new Farmland film, a documentary about American farmers, twice. Once during the 2014 Livestock Forage and Grain Forum in Indianapolis – which was not the final cut of the film – and then a couple of weeks ago during a showing of the final cut, again in Indy.

Who would have thought I could ever be a film critic – but look at me now!  This film was amazing in so many ways.

The version I saw at forum was a rough cut and I remember hearing someone say it's a film about farmers, but not for farmers. I found that perspective interesting, so I watched it that day with that in mind, keeping an "outsider's view."

Farmland Film: I met farmer and 'movie star' Leighton Cooley, fourth generation poultry farmer in Georgia. He autographed my movie poster.

I enjoyed the film, but walked away with the feeling that it wasn't something I wanted to see again.

Related: Farmland Documentary Scheduled for Release May 1

A few weeks later, I was invited by The Indiana Soybean Alliance to a special private screening of the final film. I wasn't sure I wanted to see the movie again, but if you throw in hanging out with friends, no kids, free food and drinks, I of course signed up.

The final cut is amazing. I am so glad I saw it, and I can't wait until it comes out so the kids can enjoy it too. During the second viewing, I watched as a farmer, as a consumer and as an agriculturist.

What an authentic representation of American agriculture and true family farming.  The film covered a year with seven farmers from one side of America to the other.  Large conventional grain and livestock farms, organic farms, a cattle ranch and vegetable grower create a perfect cross-section and representation of what the majority of farms in the United States are – family-owned.

Related: Meet the Stars of Farmland

I was a typical movie-goer and ran the usual gamut of emotions.  I laughed, shook my head in agreement when things went wrong, and I cried. To be dramatic, my heart even swelled with pride that I am also a part of such an amazing industry.

This is truly a story about farming, told by farmers. There was no script, no narrator, just a film crew filming these farmers working, interacting with family and telling their story.

In true Siskel & Ebert fashion, I am giving the movie two thumbs up!

For more information on the film and when it will be in theaters, check out the Farmland film website.

The opinions of Jennifer Campbell are not necessarily those of Indiana Prairie Farmer or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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