Chris Oaks spoke with Jenny Wilson of the Hancock County Farm Bureau.
Q: A special screening of the new documentary, “Farmland,” will be shown in Findlay on Tuesday (7 p.m., Carmike 12 Cinemas). What can you tell us about this film?
A: It’s a good portrayal of the wide interests of our industry. A large-scale family-owned hog farming operation is profiled, and then there’s a woman who works with community-supported agriculture and has less than 10 acres. So, it’s a very diverse portrayal of what agriculture really is in the United States.
It’s directed by James Moll, who has won two Emmys and an Academy Award for his previous work. You can learn more about the film and view previews online at www.farmlandfilm.com.
Q: For anyone who envisions the stereotypical image of “Old MacDonald,” the people you’ll meet in this film are very different. Do you think that will surprise industry outsiders?
A: Yes, this film tells the stories of six farmers who are all under the age of 30, young, successful agriculture entrepreneurs who are bringing in new ideas on the use of technology, co-existing with their non-farm neighbors, and developing methods to work smarter. I include myself in that group, and that’s what our generation brings to the table.
Q: Does that also speak to the misconception that the industry is stagnant, unwilling to change?
A: That’s right, the industry is constantly evolving. On that point, I think the important message is that America’s farmers want to provide all of us with the safest, most affordable food supply possible.
If we’re not taking care of the land, if we’re not taking care of our animals, that’s not possible. So we’re always interested in learning a new approach that will make our best practices even better, and ways to put proven scientific advancements to use.
Q: Which is something that will be necessary, given the fact that global population is increasing while the number of farm acres is shrinking.
A: We’re going to have to double our current production output by the year 2050. That fact alone makes this both an exciting and challenging time to be a farmer.
Q: In the end, what do you hope those of us not in the industry will take away from the film?
A: We know that many, many Americans have never stepped foot on a farm or ranch.
So we hope that people can leave the theater understanding what it’s like to be a farmer today, both the challenges and the opportunities.
“Good Mornings!” with Chris Oaks airs from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. weekdays on WFIN, 1330 kHz. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 419-422-4545.
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