Date night often means dinner and a movie or some live music for Dan and me. But last night we attended the Jackson-Clinton County Dairy Banquet where the Peterson Farm Bros. were the entertainment. I’d seen a couple of their videos on YouTube so when Dan mentioned getting tickets, I was for it.
After we dined on pork cutlets, roast beef, green beans, party potatoes, salad and ice cream — solid farm banquet fare — we listened as Greg (26), Nathan (23) and Kendal (20) Peterson told of parlaying their creative talents and experiences on their family’s farm in central Kansas into a multimedia business advocating for agriculture.
Five years ago Greg talked his brothers into singing and dancing across cattle pens and farm fields to shoot a music video celebrating farm life. I’m Farming and I Grow It was a clever parody of LMFAO’s famous I’m Sexy and I Know It. Then studying agriculture communications and music performance at Kansas State University, Greg saw music as a powerful tool to tune people into the story of farming.
After production on that first video wrapped (they got their younger sister to shoot raw footage on a phone and used their laptops for editing) they posted it to YouTube, shared the link on social media and hoped for 50,000 views over the next year or two.
To their surprise I’m Farming and I Grow It collected 5 million views within two weeks. News cameras and reporters showed up at their parents’ farm. Fox News flew the brothers to New York to appear. They went to the Kansas State Fair and people stopped them on the midway for autographs and photos. “In a matter of weeks we’d gone from being the Peterson brothers from Assaria, KS, population 300, to the Peterson brothers from YouTube,” one of the brothers commented last night.
That was just the beginning. Since 2012, they’ve have created 100 videos, started a blog to tackle topics like GMOs, organic food, and animal welfare. They’ve been invited to speak in Australia, Germany, South Africa, Canada and throughout the US. And now they have 350K fans on Facebook, 100K subscribers on their YouTube channel and a total of 40 million views from 237 countries.
Last night in addition to sharing samples of their videos, the brothers encouraged the audience, many farmers, to speak up for agriculture. “Take the initiative and even if you impact just one person it is worth it,” said Greg. “If you see an article on agriculture in USA Today and you read the comments, there are no farmers to be found.
“Tell the story of agriculture,” they urged. (The banquet organizers were already on point – they displayed posters explaining dairy farming and gave each guest butter or cheese to take home.)
The videos the brothers showed were cute and funny. But don’t expect a bunch of country music parodies; they use pop and rap and urban oriented songs in order to appeal to city folks, they say. A few of the scenes made us cringe from a safety standpoint. But the Peterson Farm Bros. are undeniably clever and creative. Hands down my favorite video is a “Perry-ody” of Roar called Chore:
Linked from Peterson Farm Bros YouTube Channel. I claim no rights to content.
After the Peterson brothers finished their talk, dozens of folks lined up to buy autographed t-shirts and posters. “But I didn’t get the idea they are just out to be famous,” said Dan. “They seem earnest and sincere about wanting to tell the story of agriculture.” I agree.
On the way home Dan and I chuckled about the craziness of their metrics. When we were young agriculture communicators (both of us have worked in that field our whole careers) we were thrilled when our articles were published in magazines circulated to 20,000 people. “They are trailblazers and entrepreneurs, for sure,” said Dan.
Learn more about country music lover and blogger Karen Bernick here. Please feel free to share this article or others. But please use photos with permission only – just email me with any requests. If you like this post, please consider following me here, liking my Facebook page Karen Loves Country or following me at Twitter. Thanks for reading! #KarenLovesCountry #PetersonFarmBros #Agriculture #JacksonClintonCountyDairyBanquet #Dairy