'Farmland' Movie Features Roberta Chicken Farming Family

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By WGXA Staff

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Updated: Fri, 02 May 2014 11:49:14 EST

A new film being screened this weekend in Macon showcases a farmer from middle Georgia.

Cooley Farms in Roberta is owned and operated by father and son team of Larry and Leighton Cooley.

"We're proud of what we do," Larry Cooley said. "And we enjoy what we do."

That pride and enjoyment is apparent with Leighton Cooley, a fourth generation chicken, cattle and hay farmer.

Leighton's featured in "Farmland," a documentary by Academy Award winner James Moll. The documentary profiles six young farmers and ranchers from across the country, most of whom were raised on their family's farm or ranch and chose to continue the family business.

Cooley Farms was the only farm from the Southeast featured in the film. Leighton told us how he became part of the project.

"I just got a call one day," he said. "It was exciting to have the opportunity to basically open up and share our farm in a way that most people never get to see"

The film features Cooley's sprawling 100-acre operation with 18 massive chicken houses, 100 cows and acres of hay fields.

The focus of the farm is on the chickens. The Cooley family raises 3 million chickens each year for Perdue Farms.

Leighton said he sees the film project as important to his family and the industry.

"To reach the eyes of just thousands of consumers across the country and actually see where their food is coming from, how it's raised, who's raising it, was something that we hadn't been able to do before," he said.

Leighton is a proud farmer and takes seriously the responsibility Cooley Farms has for the food it grows for families across the country. He hopes the movie will  help educate consumers.

"There have been misconceptions that have been generated, and we love the opportunity to share what we do to maybe clear up some of those misconceptions," he said.

Although Leighton hopes his sons, Lawson and Lane, will one day carry on the family business, he wants them to follow the passions God gives them.

"We enjoy what we do," he said. "Get a job you love, you never work a day in your life."

"Farmland" will be shown at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Douglass Theatre on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in downtown Macon. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased in advance on the phone of online at douglasstheatre.com.

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