Advocating for agriculture through social media

Young farmer, Greg Peterson has become a YouTube sensation 
after creating a video about his life on the family farm

After creating an agriculture-focused music video parody, Greg Peterson and his brothers found themselves in the world’s spotlight.

The Peterson brothers, who farm together on their fifth-generation family farm in Kansas, transformed the LMAFO song, “I’m Sexy and I Know It,” into their own, “I’m Farming and I Grow It.”

Shortly after its release in 2012, their YouTube video went viral, receiving over six million views from over 200 countries.

“Apparently, we’re good at being terrible dancers,” Peterson told a packed seminar Jan. 21 during Ag Days in Brandon.

The Peterson brothers

The Peterson brothers on their Kansas farm.
photo: Supplied

Peterson, 24, said the whole thing started as a joke. He convinced his younger brothers Nathan, 21 and Kendall, 18 to help him produce a video that he could show some of his college friends to help explain what he did back home on their Assaria, Kansas farm. “I wanted to show my friends farming is cool,” he said.

So he purposely picked a song that was popular in urban circles. The brothers have followed suit with more videos, equally as popular, parodying songs such as “Gangnam Style” and the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” theme song. Some people have asked why they didn’t choose country songs, but Peterson said that missed the point of trying to appeal to his urban friends.

The end product is far from slick. The videos were shot with either a home video camera or a smartphone, with their little sister Laura directing some of the shots. The lyrics are creative, albeit a bit corny, and they suit the down-home warmth people associate with farm life — three agile young men jumping in unison from round bale to round bale, getting licked in the face by a cow, bale tossing, family dinners and kittens.

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“It’s really cool to see the power of social media,” Peterson said, noting the family now maintains a Facebook page about the farm’s daily life. They have started hosting tours, amazed at how far people will travel to see a real farm.

They have also used their sudden rise to fame to help finance their college educations through online marketing of T-shirts, calendars and autographed posters.

Peterson, who majored in agricultural communications in college, said the experience has reinforced for him that farmers need to be proactive about telling their own story.

“Ever since we began producing content, we have continued to realize a need to inform people about what we do in farming and in agriculture as a whole,” Peterson said.

“There are many misconceptions about modern-day farmers and we feel it is our calling to help correct some of those misconceptions. Aside from our production on social media, we travel around the country to perform and speak on advocating for agriculture.”

But he stressed farmers need to be respectful in their dialogues with non-farmers, even when they don’t agree with them. “Talk to people as you would a friend. Because if you get into bickering and fighting, it’s not going to go anywhere.”

About the author

Reporter

Jennifer Paige

Jennifer Paige is a reporter centred in southwestern Manitoba. She previously wrote for the agriculture-based magazine publisher, Issues Ink and was the sole-reporter at the Minnedosa Tribune for two years prior to joining the Manitoba Co-operator.

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