— You can make $2.4 million a year in the U.S. without ever working a day in your life.
But it’s hard to make that kind of money when you have to sell your farm and your products to pay the mortgage, rent and bills.
In the new film, “How to Make 2,000 Dollars a Day” (Netflix), the writer and director of the award-winning “Big Fish” fame talks to farm workers who are making a living at the low end of the farm income scale and what it means to make the “right” money.
The documentary is directed by Alex Jaffe, who recently finished filming the Oscar-winning film “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.”
The film is a collaboration with the Georgia Center for Investigative Reporting.
In a joint interview with CNNMoney, Jaffe discussed the financial realities facing farm workers.
“I know people in my life that don’t have jobs, and I’m not one of them,” Jaffe said.
“What I’m doing is asking people that have been working on the farm for a long time to come out and tell me about what it’s like to make a living off of their land.”
The story is based on interviews with farmers, ranch hand Alex, who works in the agriculture industry in Georgia, and other farm workers, including some who have no other income.
“You have to be able to afford a rent,” Alex said.
Alex is a member of the Farmers Union of Georgia, which represents about 150,000 small farmers across the state.
“If you don’t work, then you’re just going to be a part of a family that’s getting screwed out of everything,” he said.
The film follows Alex and a group of farmers as they get their first paycheck in about a year.
“This is going to help you,” Alex says in the film.
I think this is going be the best thing that ever happened to you.” “
It’s going to give you a little bit of stability.
I think this is going be the best thing that ever happened to you.”
When Alex was growing up, he worked for a farmer named Tom, who made about $8 an hour.
Alex and his father had been working in the cotton fields for about two decades.
Tom’s wife and two children lived in an RV and were unable to work, so they moved the family to an area that was closer to a market.
Tom said he worked a lot of nights and weekends.
“He used to sleep in the barn all night,” Alex recalled.
Tom lived on the edge of town and lived on a $1,000-a-month stipend, which he paid off with a $30 loan.
“We had a lot to do,” Tom said.
Tom was the “Big Dog” of the family, who worked hard on his family.
“That’s how we were raised,” Alex told the film’s audience.
“Our father was a great man and my grandfather was a good man.
We worked hard and were always in debt.
It was not easy for us.
We just wanted to get ahead.”
Alex’s father died of a heart attack in 2002 and his mother, who was a homemaker, worked at a small grocery store.
She had a two-year-old daughter, who had to live in a trailer with her mother and three siblings.
The trailer they shared was rented out to other family members and Alex worked there for three years.
“My dad and I had a little money in the bank,” Alex remembered.
“But it was like we were doing it to support our family.
My dad was trying to make money to support us.”
He says his father and his brother helped him with his business.
“They taught me everything I know about business,” Alex explained.
“And they taught me how to be good people.”
In the end, Alex said he was able to buy his first house with his father’s money.
“Because I was young and I was hungry, I worked really hard,” he recalled.
“Every day I worked, I got a little more money.”
In 2013, Alex moved back to his hometown of Athens to take on a new role on his fathers farm.
He worked from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and he says that he would often make $30 an hour, depending on how much work he had to do.
“At that time, it was really hard work,” Alex lamented.
We didn’t have any breaks.”
The work ethic was infectious, Alex says.
Alex, who is now 47, is one of thousands of farmers who say that the “work ethic” of farming has been the