FAIRFIELD — Farmers, local and national, can be seen as the face of America in a new documentary about agricultural changes titled Farmers for America.

The film is under the “Leave it Better” name, and the goal is to have people understand their impacts on the world. Filmmaker Graham Meriwether and his crew believe everyone has something positive to contribute to the world, farms and ecology.

“Often when we we hear about the environment, we hear about the massive problems — oil spills, contaminated air, toxic runoff in waters. These types of stories are important because they bring about awareness of vital problems,” Meriwether said. “But if we only hear the problems, we become apathetic and despondent. We stop believing that we can have a positive impact.”

Jefferson County Farmers and Neighbors said the average age of today’s farmer is at 60. Aging farmers brings a new demand for young farmers, but they need support and education.

Meriwether questions the next generation of farmers. He asks how they are adapting to farming and lifestyle changes. The first goal is to give thanks to local and national farmers.

“Who will feed us? This is the central question of Farmers for America,” said Meriwether. “Our first goal is to reflect on all the work that farmers do and say thank you and celebrate farmers.”

There were two screenings in Fairfield recently with more planned for Cedar Falls and the University of Northern Iowa among other Iowa and national locations.

The farmers in the film are as diverse as the farmers at the discussion panels. It goes from a northwestern Iowa father-son team to an ex-Marine in California, and many places in between. This is to show every person, despite their occupation, can do their part.

“Half of America’s farmland is going to change hands in the next 12 years,” Meriwether said. “And with 20 percent of our food imported, again the question is who will feed us.”

Aaryn Frazier can be reached at afrazier@ottumwacourier.com or on Twitter at CourierAaryn.

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