Kansas farm boys put ag in national spotlight with parody videos
March 10, 2014
"We are seriously just normal guys," said Greg Peterson, the oldest of the three "Peterson brothers." The Kansas farm boys have put agriculture in the national spotlight by producing and starring in farming parody videos of top music hits.
Peterson said the boys think it is "hilarious" that fellow agriculturalists are treating them like celebrities. "We are just down-to-earth Kansas farm kids," he said.
It all started June of 2012, when "I'm Farming and I Grow it" hit YouTube.com. Greg, an agricultural communications major at Kansas State said, "Professors were always challenging us to find new ways to advocate for agriculture. I was browsing YouTube one day and noticed that the most popular YouTube videos were music videos. At that point I decided I wanted to make a farming music video with my brothers." After hearing "I'm Sexy and I Know it," Greg jokingly changed it to "I'm Farming and I Grow it." The idea caught fire and after writing the song, he took it home to his brothers and they filmed their first humorous mock video.
The Peterson brothers have several videos on their YouTube channel, the latest being "Chore." They have over 29 million views on Youtube, which equals over 89 years of viewing time. The story of American's farmers and ranchers through the Peterson Brothers is reaching consumers in over 232 countries. Not only do they share their story on YouTube but they have over 125,000 Facebook followers, a Twitter and Instagram following as well. "I knew at the beginning that it was important to advocate for agriculture, but I think I underestimated the importance. Not only that, but I feel like the need is growing with every day that goes by. If we in the agriculture community don't do a better job of communicating to consumers, we are going to be in some real trouble down the road," explains Greg about the importance of daily advocating.
Greg states," The most important thing is to assure the consumer that their food is safe to eat and dispel any fear they may have about the products they consume. I mean, we have the safest, most abundant food supply in the history of the world and I see consumers complaining all of the time and wondering if what they are eating is safe. Other than that, I think there are many myths about agriculture that need to be corrected and explained. For instance, the terms, "factory farming," "monoculture," "big-ag," "industrial agriculture," are all very misunderstood." With a consumer population that is farther and farther removed from the farm, the Peterson Brothers are opening that door for communication. They make themselves available to give presentations and their farm is YouTube proof, its real and the consumer appreciates that fact.
While Kansas is home, and Kansas State is their school of choice, so far, the brothers have had a unique opportunity to travel and tell their story beyond the screen. Their life got flipped when the first video came out in June 2012 and they took a quick trip to appear on the Today show. Little did they know it wouldn't stop there. "I've been to over 30 states since the video came out, so obviously it's changed my life quite a bit. I think my favorite has to be when I spoke on a panel in Hanover, Germany at the largest farm show in the world, the Agritechnica. I was sitting alongside farmers from all over Europe discussing the similarities and differences in our farming practices and the challenges all of us face with connecting to consumers," explains Greg. While traveling and making videos is what we have come to expect from the brothers, they will be the first to declare, "Kansas is awesome! We love it."
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"Farming with your family in the Midwest is about as good as it gets," said Greg. The future for The Peterson brothers includes farming, advocating and making videos. Just like a typical farm family they are running 90 miles an hour. Kendal is still in high school and is a three sport athlete and is involved in numerous clubs and activities. Nathan is a college student living in a different town than the rest of us during the school year, and Greg embarked on a full time speaking career as well as helping out "full-time" as much as he can on the family farm. Greg explains that a video may be in the near future, "But we will continue to do our best to advocate through videos and through our Facebook page and Twitter, and we hope to do another parody video either over Spring Break or the beginning of next summer!"
Fans watching the latest Peterson Brother video, "Chore" will notice a new face. Their little sister makes an appearance. "Laura helps us film our video and even has a solo in our last one, "Chore." She likes helping them out but would rather be behind the scenes. Whenever they get the opportunity to go on speaking trips, Laura loves to tag along." Greg gives credit where its due, "My parents have been huge in our upbringing and who we all are, and are both hardworking, caring individuals. We don't really know the future plans to be honest. Other than the brothers do plan to all farm together in the future."