Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Brothers turn parody videos into pitch for farming

A series of agricultural-themed song parody videos that three Kansas brothers put online became a sensation and are enabling the brothers to use their celebrity status to promote positive stereotypes about farming, especially through social media, Caitlin Ellingson reports for Iowa Farmer Today. Greg, Nathan and Kendal Peterson of Saline County, Kansas, first uploaded the videos in 2012. Three years later they have become spokesmen for an industry that sometimes is not seen in a positive light outside rural areas.

Greg told Ellingson, "Our message is to help correct the stereotypes about farmers. We believe that farmers use the best technology available, do the most they can with the resources they have. They’re trying to make the best decisions to use their land and take care of their livestock. ... Some people don’t seem to understand that. So I think our most important message is to thank farmers for what they do and just try to understand them a little bit better instead of making snap judgments.”

The Peterson brothers host tours at their farm near Assaria, Kan., to teach people "about agriculture and see the work that goes into running a farm," Ellingson writes. Greg spoke at 100 events last year and is expected to do the same this year. He told Ellingson, "We give a presentation where we just kind of tell our story—how it all went down and what we learned from that experience. When we’re talking to younger kids, it’s more of an inspirational presentation, and for older farmers it’s more informational.”

The Petersons are not alone in using social media to promote agriculture. Elizabeth Burns-Thompson, government relations manager for the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, "says many farmers have jumped at the chance to speak for the industry on social media," Ellingson writes. Burns-Thompson told her, “Farmers today, even the more senior ones, are becoming incredibly tech savvy, and they are surprisingly some of our most active social media users." (YouTube video)

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