Grand Island, NE -
From a poultry farmer in Georgia to a corn grower right here in Nebraska, the film “Farmland” follows six farmers helping feed the world, and dozens of people got to see it at a special screening in Grand Island on Thursday.
Food was the price of admission for the film about food. The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce’s Ag Council brought the documentary to the big screen at the Grand Theatre and asked movie-goers to bring canned goods to pay for tickets.
“Just another way to tie it back to ag,” says Valerie Bren, the chamber’s Workforce Development Coordinator. “This is your food, this is where it comes from, and then we’re going to be donating that to local food pantries in Grand Island.”
Educating their neighbors about where the popcorn they’re munching on or the items they drop in their grocery carts is grown is something the Ag Council says is important even in Grand Island, where ag production and manufacturing is a big part of the local economy.
“A lot of people think that food just appears in the grocery store or it comes on a plate and they honestly don’t understand what all entails to make that product,” says Annette Schimmer, a member of the Ag Council who also farms.
The film showcases six farmers and ranchers growing different products in different states, but one thing they all have in common: they’re all young producers. That’s a feature organizers felt would resonate locally.
“The average age of a farmer is 60 and that’s a problem because they’re going to be aging out and we need young people to go back into farming,” says Bren.
“In today’s economy you cannot just say ‘I’m going to go to the bank, get a loan, and go buy machinery or go buy land,’ you almost have to have it handed down to you,” says Schimmer.
The Ag Council says “Farmland” might not encourage anyone to run out and start their own farm, but they hope it gives a better understanding of the $14 billion economic impact ag has in Nebraska.
“We depend on ag very much, you look at Case New Holland, you look at Standard Iron, all of the Global Industries, MFS, you just look at those companies -- if we didn’t have them here in Grand Island, we would fall apart,” says Bren.