This past week director Conrad Weaver visited Colville. Conrad is currently working on a documentary, Thirsty Land. In this documentary he will be focusing on the drought in the Pacific Northwest and its impact on agriculture. Conrad is also the director of the “Great American Wheat Harvest,” which is available on DVD and is currently up for an Emmy.
The executive director of the AgChat Foundation, Jenny, whom I have become friends with, presented an opportunity to work with Conrad. The AgChat Foundations sponsors events for training farmers & ranchers on the use of social media to connect with consumers. I have had the privilege of attending as both a guest and a speaker. I knew if the AgChat Foundation was sponsoring this event, I could trust them coming to our farm.
Conrad and his cameraman Sam arrived in Spokane on Saturday the 19th. Their first stop was to meet Jessie of Win-turn Bison in Springdale. They also met Dude the buffalo, interviewed & filmed Jessie on the impacts of the drought as well as the fires that were so close to her home.
The next day they spent some time on our farm filming chores, cows, kids and interviewing Brandon & I. The film is really focusing on the negative impact the drought is having on farms in hopes to shed some light on our struggles for consumers. Like many other farmers & ranchers, we have had some issues in regards to the drought. Our pastures ran out of feed several months early, yields on feed are down, and water on the home farm was an issue throughout the entire summer. We talked with Conrad about what that means for our cows as well as the negative impact it has on us financially.
Sunday they spent some time at Douglas Falls Creamery with the Barton family. Douglas Falls Creamery is a small micro dairy farm that sells raw milk. They also do quite a bit of hay and were able to talk to Conrad about forages (or lack of) in Eastern Washington this year due to drought.
Monday they finished their time in Colville at Vaagens Brothers Lumber. They were able to learn how forest management (or mismanagement) plays a role in both the drought as well as the recent fires. They were very thankful for the time that was taken to show them the mill as well as some of the fire damage our county has experienced.
I am very excited to see the outcome of this film. Thirsty Land is being produced in partnership with the Water and Food Institute at the University of Nebraska and will be completed by April of 2016. There will be a private screening in Spokane, Washington this spring and released later that year. To learn more about the film or make a contribution to the film, visit www.thirstylandmovie.com. In the meantime, make sure to check out the “Great American Wheat Harvest” as it is available on Amazon.