Today, March 25, is National Ag Day. It’s a day dedicated to celebrating farmers. The 2014 theme is “365 Sunrises and 7 Billion Mouths to Feed.”
The day is designed to encourage conversation about farming to educate those who live in town about what happens on the farm or ranch every day. But “ag day” happens every day for a farming family.
I walk out my front door and I encounter agriculture. Right now, I see our hay and triticale fields finally greening up for the next season.
It’s interesting to hear experts tell farmers to focus on the bottom line and not let their emotions get in the way of decisions. However, emotion is a part of farming when it is a family-run business. Families celebrate the successes, grieve at the losses and support each other through the tough times. This emotion is captured in a new movie set to open this spring called “Farmland.” The movie focuses on the family side of the business.
"Farmland" follows six farmers, all in their 20s, through their day-to-day struggles and successes. The farmers hail from all over the country and grow a variety of crops and livestock under diverse production practices.
Margaret Schlass, a Pennsylvania CSA operator, is one of the farmers featured in the documentary. The film was directed by Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker James Moll.
In the trailer promoting the movie, one farmer is overheard saying, "Farming is high risk, high reward” to describe the business. Another says, doing what they love, they never work a day in their life. The trailer can be viewed here.
A different documentary focused on a family's emotions when they realized their farm legacy was most likely in its final generation. Released in the early 2000s, James Spione explored the centurylong struggle of his mother’s family to maintain a small dairy farm near Cooperstown, N Y., in a documentary called "The American Farm." It was pure emotion as the family struggled with the potential end of the farm after 150 years in business.
It’s a documentary that is well worth viewing if you get a chance, and I believe many farm families could relate to the drama and challenges.
So, as you celebrate Ag Day today, the Lancaster Farming staff looks forward to hearing about your farming successes and challenges.
Happy Ag Day!
Charlene M. Shupp Espenshade, special sections editor