Film Treatment: CREAM OF THE CROP by JoAnn S. Dawson
JODI STAFFORD, in her late twenties, is petite, lively and focused. When she is not working to help keep the family dairy farm afloat, she is a popular Ag Science teacher at the local high school. A fellow teacher introduces her, at a raucous party, to MIKE JARED, a driven marketing specialist and her opposite in nearly every way. On a dare, Mike reports to the dairy farm and Jodi introduces him to farm life and her skeptical family. One visit leads to another, and Mike begins to fall for the farm life as Jodi begins to fall for him.
Just as the two discover they have more in common than they imagined, a series of misfortunes threaten the farm along with their burgeoning relationship. Jodi’s brother is injured in a farm accident caused by Mike’s negligence. Delinquents on four-wheelers, who turn out to be relatives of Mike, destroy Stafford farm property and are nearly shot by Jodi’s brother Frank. And after Frank’s prize heifers are poisoned, the blame falls on Mike. When Skip Stevens, a visiting Ag Extension Agent enters the picture, turning Jodi’s head and currying favor with the family, it proves to be the last straw for their relationship.
Jodi, still in love with Mike but finding the situation hopeless, tries to forget him by finding solutions to the financial problems facing the farm, while Mike turns his attention back to his rising career as a marketing specialist in a high-end commercial real estate company. Mike is tasked with using his expertise to explore the perfect location for a “Transformational Development” which will mean millions for his company and a large promotion for him. When logistics are compiled, he discovers too late that his research has uncovered the perfect spot – the soon-to-be-foreclosed on Stafford dairy farm.
Mike is assigned to present the development plan at the county council meeting to which the public is also invited for input. Jodi’s family, along with other farmers and concerned citizens, attend the meeting. All eyes, especially Jodi’s, are on Mike as he begins the presentation touting the myriad advantages of this “fresh housing and retail concept.” When he finally reveals the proposed location of the project, Jodi and her family, along with almost everyone in the room, explode in anger. But Mike has had an epiphany prior to the meeting. Having realized that his love for Jodi and the farm outweigh his ambition, he has formed a plan to not only stop the development, but to expose his boss in a bribery scheme, which he proceeds to do in an impassioned speech to the shocked audience.
Jodi and Mike reunite, and Mike presents plans to the Stafford family which will help diversify and save the farm. A fresh produce market, an “Ice Cream Emporium” and a horse-drawn carriage service for weddings are among the ideas he has developed. As plans for the carriage are shown drawn on the page, the scene dissolves to the actual wedding carriage, driven by Jodi’s father, carrying Jodi and Mike down the farm lane to their life together as a married couple.
SYNOPSIS: Jodi Stafford is a high school Ag Science teacher in a desperate struggle to save her ailing family farm from the hands of developers. Mike Jared is a driven young marketing specialist rising quickly through the ranks of commercial real estate.
When the two meet, Jodi introduces Mike to her world and the two fall in love. Through a series of misfortunes and another man entering the picture, they go their separate ways. As Mike returns to his real estate career, Jodi discovers that his company is planning to foreclose on her farm and develop it.
The ultimate outcome comes as a shock to everyone.