“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.” ~Thomas Jefferson, author of the ‘Declaration of Independence’, and the 3rd President of the United States of America.
There are no Oscars for farmers! Farmers are the single most consistently ignored sector of the society. Ironically, they also happen to be the most consistently essential sector, if seen through an organic, hand-to-mouth sort of lens. Thus, its imperative that an increased representation of the profession starts happening soon enough in mass media. Documentary makers Thom Beers and Jeff Conroy in their attempt to do exactly that, have traveled all across the United States to capture the untold agricultural processes of five separate farming families.
Produced by BobCat, a production company founded by Beers, Conroy and Sarah Bernard, ‘The American Farm’ is aN eight part docuseries that airs on the History Channel. Beers started brainstorming the idea for the show nearly a decade back, but did not go ahead with its production initially because the major networks at the time were averse to the idea of documenting the life of farmers, as it did not make for exciting television according to them. “I think the audiences came and caught up with us. I think the curiosity of people in urban areas (has increased). All of a sudden there is a heightened awareness of the quality of food. We’re trying to explain where it all comes from and the struggle to get it there”, says Beers while describing their new production. Well, better late than never.
Through its extensive usage of visuals, and interviews of the actual people behind the food we see on our plates, the docuseries paints an authentic portrait of the life, struggles and triumphs of the American farmer. “The life of the farmer is the last greatest untold story of America, and we have found an incredible partner in History,” said Beers while speaking to Variety magazine. Read on to know all about of this one-of-a-kind series!
The American Farm Cast: Who’s in it?
Series producers Beers and Conroy spent months searching the country to cast the five different farming families featured in ‘The American Farm’. They wanted multi-generational farms from different parts of the country, dealing with different livestock and crops to add variety and versatility to the series. Farming families featured in the series include Boyd (Virginia), Griggs (Tennessee), Meyers (Alaska), Robertson (New Hampshire), and Sunderland (Utah).
While speaking about them, show-runner Conroy said, “Many people don’t realize that these families put their financial well-being on the line every year. A couple bad harvests and they’re out of business. These are real stakes, not ones made for TV. For us, there’s no predetermined agenda. There’s no issue we are trying to push. We just want to tell the stories of these hardworking families, as it deserves to be heard.”