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“Farmland” Film Prompts Dialogue

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Panelists fielded questions from the audience after the Farmland Film at ISU April 7. (from left) Matt Kilgus of Fairbury, Gerald Thompson of Colfax, Dr. Kim Ryhkerd, Mark O’Rourke of Downs, and Pat Bane of Arrowsmith.

From antibiotic use in livestock farming to the influence of corporate interests in agriculture, panelists fielded a wide range of audience questions following a screening of the film “Farmland” at Illinois State University April 7.

Don Meyer, ISU Agriculture Department lecturer, served as moderator for the event.

The panelists represented diverse areas of agriculture including Matt Kilgus, who’s family operates an on-farm milk bottling facility to process milk and sell milk from their herd of Jersey cows.

Another panelist, Mark O’Rourke of Downs, grows fresh produce and sells at the Bloomington Farmers Market.

“One thing I thought the movie portrayed very well is that each of the farmers are different,” O’Rourke said. “There’s no cookie cutter to farming or agriculture.”

Third generation farmer, Gerald Thompson, grows corn and soybeans in eastern McLean County. “As was stated in the film, the average age of the farmer is climbing and there are farmers who are looking for people to take over their operation,” Thompson said. “So while I say there are challenges, I also think there are opportunities for young people who would want to get into the business.

Pat Bane, a pig farmer from Arrowsmith, and Dr. Kim Rhykerd, a veterinarian and lecturer at ISU rounded out the panel and addressed questions related to livestock and animal care.

“Farmland” is a feature-length documentary from director, James Moll, an Oscar® and two-time Emmy® winning filmmaker. The film shares the story of six young farmers and ranchers from across the United States who have taken on management roles in their family farms.

The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance provided financial support to make the film. Illinois Farm Bureau is an affiliate of the USFRA, which complements the Illinois Farm Families program.

The screening at Illinois State University was hosted by Collegiate Farm Bureau chapter and McLean County Farm Bureau.

For more on the film, click here.

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