Movie review: Meet today's farmers, in industry-backed documentary 'Farmland'

Published May 2, 2014 3:16 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

There's interesting material in James Moll's documentary "Farmland," which looks at modern farm life.

The six farmers interviewed here are all in their 20s, running small independent farms. Each deals with uncertain markets, huge capital expenses and unpredictable weather. The individual stories are compelling, and one farmer — Margaret Schlass, a spunky first-generation organic vegetable grower in Pennsylvania — deserves a movie of her own (with, say, Lena Dunham in the lead).

But when the movie soft-pedals issues such as animal mistreatment and GMO crops, one suspects a deeper agenda. Sure enough, at the end of the credits (and on the film's website) there's a mention of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, an industry trade group supported by commodities organizations (National Pork Producers Council, American Egg Board, etc.) and agribusinesses such as Monsanto, DuPont and John Deere.

The farmers interviewed in "Farmland" seem sincere, but the industry's backing raises some troubling credibility questions.

movies@sltrib.com; http://www.sltrib.com/entertainment



Opens Friday, May 2, at the Megaplex at Jordan Commons, Sandy; not rated, but probably PG for fleeting images of animal mistreatment; 77 minutes.



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