New documentary offers ray of hope for future farming

New documentary offers ray of hope for future farming

CHESTERFIELD, Mo.—The documentary Farmers for America premiered in October and depicts a bleak picture of current agriculture, but it offers a ray of hope for future farming.

According to the filmmaker, the documentary traces the extraordinary changes coming to America’s food system as more and more consumers flock to farmers’ markets, embrace farm-to-table lifestyles and insist on knowing where their food originates.

At the center of the film are the farmers, young and old, who provide the spirit and energy to bring urban and rural America together over what both share in common: our food.

With the average age of today’s farmer at 60 and rural America losing population as the cost of land and equipment soars, this film examines the people waiting to take senior farmers’ places, the practices they’re championing and the obstacles they must overcome. 

“It can be a challenge for anyone entering agriculture today, with or without a smooth transition of ownership,” explained Tony Banks, a commodity marketing specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “The investment cost of entering traditional commodity-scale farming can be staggering assuming there is even enough suitable farmland available to make a go of it. 

“While we are seeing increasing numbers of beginning farmers, both young and old, entering agriculture—many taking advantage of the local food and organic movements—they are generally much smaller scale operations and just as important as their commodity-scale brethren. These smaller operations face many of the same land, labor and regulatory challenges as do larger farms.”

The film claims 50 percent of farmland will change hands over the next 15 years, and it features young farmers eager to revitalize the agriculture community with innovation and integration of conventional with organic agriculture.

According to the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, of which VFBF is an affiliate, an important takeaway of the documentary is that it shows farms meet the needs of their communities.

However, its focus on local and organic farms limits the film’s potential for accurately depicting food production. Local and organic farms, according to USFRA, play an important role in agriculture; however, they are not the only viable form of agriculture.

For more information and to view the film visit

Media: Contact Sara Owens, VFBF communications, at 804-290-1133.

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