I often am approached by movie producers who are working on films, either a feature film, short film or documentary. I have become very good at saying “no.” More often than not, the film sensationalizes a very serious subject. As a result, I review every project and endorse few.
The Seed is a film project that I have known about for a few years, so when the producer reached out earlier this week to share the trailer, I took a look.
And now you get to, too.
The Seed is currently in production. It tells the story of the operating system that Monsanto introduced when they introduced their genetically engineered seeds into commodity crop agriculture back in the 1990s. These seeds had never before existed in our food supply and fundamentally changed farming in America.
With the release of these patented seeds, farming and the autonomy farmers had over their land and operations changed dramatically. Farmers entered into technology stewardship agreements, committing them not only to the purchase of these patented seeds and the trait, technology and licensing fees required to use them, but also with these contracts, farmers had to use Monsanto’s signature sides – herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and other weed killers. It was a brilliant new business model for a company that sold chemicals up until the mid 1990s that was built on the backs of our farmers. All of our farmers.
And because these new ingredients weren’t labeled in our food supply, we didn’t know and couldn’t help. We had no idea what was going on on the farm.
And now, the system is broken, pitting farmers against each other.
In no way is this more telling than with what is happening to farmers: the opioid epidemic in farm counties is jaw dropping, according the Farm Bureau, farmers debt is increasing, net farm income is declining, average farm debt is over $1.3 million in farm states like Nebraska, and farmer suicides are becoming all too common, as the Guardian recently reported in the gut wrenching piece, “Why Are American Farmers Killing Themselves in Record Numbers“. As a result of all of this and more, succession plans for farms are failing. Young farmers do not want to step into these broken business models.
In a conversation with a commodities trader who recently moved to Denver from Omaha, I learned that farmers are telling younger generations: don’t go into commodity crops like genetically engineered corn and soy, go into specialty crops or organic.
This film gives a glimpse into why. If you want to learn more, please contact us.
And please share the clip below, so that we can get our farmers out of debt and back on track.
Written in memory of Scottie McAllister of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.