The Making of 'Farmland,' Ag's Newest Documentary

Farmer participants of 'Farmland' reflect on experiences making the film at the Tribeca Film Festival

Published on: Apr 18, 2014

If offered another opportunity to share the story of their farms and ranches in documentary form, five of the farmer-participants in the new "Farmland" film on Thursday said they wouldn't hesitate to jump on board.

"I would do it again in a minute," fourth generation hog farmer Ryan Veldhuizen said during a press call just ahead of the film's Tribeca Festival debut in New York. He was joined by four other farmers who participated in the new documentary.

The film, which hits selected theatres May 1, focuses on the lives of young farmers in six different food production areas. It is billed as a glimpse into the farmers' "high-risk, high-reward" jobs.

Film participant Brad Bellah works on his family farm. Photo Credit: Don Holtz
Film participant Brad Bellah works on his family farm. Photo Credit: Don Holtz

"We're always interested in any chance to tell our story, share what we do on our farm, because we really enjoy it," said Leighton Cooley, a Georgia poultry farmer.

Related: Meet the Faces of "Farmland"

Director James Moll, who had little experience with agriculture prior to making the film, said it was created largely by following his farmer-subjects around their farms as they completed everyday tasks – offering an "intimate look," as the film's description says, into farm life.

"Saying it's an intimate look is really talking about getting an opportunity to basically hang out with [the farmers] while they do what they do. And with their families – so their professional lives and their personal lives," Moll said.

A family focus
For many of the farmers, their professional lives are their personal lives. David Loberg, Nebraska corn and soybean farmer, said part of his reason for participating in the film was to show consumers how farming allows him to interact with his family daily.

"When you work on a family farm you get to do two things that you love: you get to farm and you get to work with your family," Loberg said. "You work hard, you work long, but it's just a good lifestyle that I think everyone would want to grow up in."