(NAFB)--The documentary Farmland - by Academy Award-winning director James Moll - was completed in early March of this year and hit theatres across the nation on May 1st. The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance - which provided financial support for the making of the film - hoped the film would spark a conversation about American agriculture. However - USFRA CEO Randy Krotz says the alliance didn’t expect it to draw such clear lines in the American landscape between those who grow food and those who consume food. For three-years - Krotz says USFRA has worked to give farmers and ranchers the platform to be heard on their terms through (www.FoodDialogues.com, in-person Food Dialogues events and the diverse farming and ranching community on Facebook. He says Farmland extended the reach of farmers’ and ranchers’ stories far beyond the walls of the Internet and remains true to James Moll’s intent - to be a character study - not an issues piece. Some people have said Farmland is an answer to other agriculture or food-issues films - but Krotz says it’s an answer to the growing divide in America between consumer and farmer. It’s the answer to every farmer who wants to help people understand where food comes from - but doesn’t know how or where to begin that conversation. He says it’s the answer to the fact that a lot of people are talking about farmers and ranchers - yet few are talking to them. Farmland also is the answer to the regional and political divide that separates the U.S. - Krotz says - and answer that hopes to bridge that gap between those who live for ag and those who live because of it.
USFRA has received comments about the film that deal with the fact it helped fund Farmland - but Krotz says films are funded every day by organizations with an interest in the subject matter. He says it’s no different than calling someone anti-science the moment they ask a question about GMOs or calling them a corporate shill once they speak in support of technological advances in agriculture. The issue Farmland has bubbled up - according to Krotz - is the cultural and regional divides in America - and USFRA thinks bridging that gap is already happening. USFRA sees everything that comes from Farmland’s release as a great opportunity to further the conversation about food and food issues - to introduce consumers to the people who have dedicated their lives to growing the food we eat and to let them tell the real stories about that food. Krotz says people must come together more now than ever to continue this conversation - really hear each other - and figure it all out together.