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Film features SDSU grad

A soon-to-be-released documentary featuring a South Dakota State University graduate turned Minnesota hog farmer will be screened next week in Sioux Falls.

The documentary, "Farmland," by award-winning director James Moll, features six young farmers and ranchers, all of whom are now responsible for running their own farming and ranching businesses. Among those featured in the film is Ryan Veldhuizen, a fourth-generation farmer from Edgerton, Minn., and an SDSU graduate. Veldhuizen is taking over the operation of his family's hog farm with his brother and sister. The farm raises hogs and grows corn and soybeans, which they use for feed.

"In Farmland, audiences will hear thoughts and opinions about agriculture, but not from me, and not from a narrator," Moll said in a news release. "They're from the mouths of the farmers and ranchers themselves."

Sioux Falls was selected to host a premiere, and the film will be shown one time at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Century East at Dawley Farm theater.

Sarah Even, communications director for the South Dakota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, saw an early version of the documentary in January.

"It did a really amazing job representing all different types of agriculture," Even said. "It was a very diverse group of people and I think that's very important to show."

In addition to Veldhuizen, the documentary features a fourth-generation poultry farmer from Georgia, a sixth-generation cattle rancher with operations in Texas and Colorado, a fifth-generation Nebraska corn and soybean farmer, a fourth-generation California vegetable farmer and a Pennsylvania community-supported-agriculture vegetable farmer.

"In South Dakota, we tend to think corn and soybeans, but agriculture really encompasses all the food we eat," Even said.

Even said she was glad to see Veldhuizen featured in the film because he faces many of the same issues faced by farmers and ranchers in South Dakota.

"It's nice to be able to connect the dots and make that relation to the film," she said.

Even said 95 percent of the farms in South Dakota are family owned, and the documentary does a good job discussing the issues that farmers face.

"I think the movie really showcases that there are real people and real families working to raise our food," she said.

Jeff Logan, owner of Luxury 5 Cinemas in Mitchell, said he does not know whether the film will be shown at his theater.

The film premiered in New York at a private screening on April 17 during the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. Additionally, Farmland was selected to be in competition this year at the Cleveland International Film Festival, the Atlanta Film Festival, the Nashville Film Festival and the Newport Beach Film Festival.