Documentary of livestock production tours colleges, FFA chapters

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A documentary sharing cattle feeding and confinement operations from the farmer’s perspective is making its way across the country, appearing at university campuses and FFA meetings, even screening at a theatre in New York City.

The documentary, American Meat, is taking a new look at the meat industry by framing the conventional/organic debate from farmers’ perspectives. The documentary encourages the conversation with a 10-state tour of universities, colleges, agricultural high schools and FFA chapters.

Filming began in 2007 after director Graham Meriwether read The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Meriwether filmed one of the farmers featured in the book, Joel Salatin, and his family. When Meriwether needed shots of conventional agriculture, he was led to visit other farms for footage.

As filming continued, Meriwether found all farms are family farms and his perception of “evil farmers” and “good farmers” was dispelled.

In addition to livestock production practices, the documentary discusses the demographic of American farmers and the average age of a farmer, 57. The documentary not only connects consumers with those who produce America’s food, but also highlights a need for younger generations to get involved in agriculture

The documentary’s website includes a petition to shift one billion dollars of government subsidies to help young people become farmers for the 2017 Farm Bill.

The tour includes California, Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania, but an educational license of the documentary is available for purchase.

Meriwether plans to replicate the American Meat model in his upcoming documentary, Farmers for America.

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