By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
FOX News television studio, New York City. Today’s guests are an unlikely trio: Three young farm boys from rural Kansas. They are making national news, thanks to a parody music video which they created about agriculture. Today, in the conclusion of our two-part series, we’ll learn about these creative young men and their advocacy for agriculture and rural Kansas. Thanks to the Kansas State Agriculturist magazine at Kansas State University and writer Amanda Spoo, whose article provided a source for this feature.
Greg Peterson and his brothers Nathan and Kendal have become known as the Peterson Farm Brothers. They grew up on a farm near Assaria, Kan. Greg is a K-State student in agricultural communications and journalism as well as musical performance.
One summer night, Greg and some friends were hanging out at a drive-in in Manhattan when the song “I’m Sexy and I Know It” came on the radio. Greg groaned. But his creative mind came up with a play on words. He decided to change the title to “I’m Farming and I Grow It” and made up lyrics to fit. He described the everyday chores of feeding cattle and growing crops and thought it could become a music video.
The next step was to convince his younger brothers and sister to film themselves singing and rapping the new lyrics in between chores on their family farm.
“Greg is always making up random stuff, and this time Kendal and I were a little skeptical at first, so he definitely had to do a little motivational speaking to get us to help out,” said Nathan, a K-State student studying agriculture technology management.
Kendal, who attends Southeast of Saline High School in Gypsum, Kan., added, “Once we realized how it was all coming together and started helping brainstorm ideas for clips, we really started to get excited.” They hoped it might get a hundred thousand views in a couple of months.
Greg posted their homemade parody video on their channel, ThePetersonFarmBros, on YouTube. The results were astounding. In four days, the video had reached one million views. In five months, it hit 7.6 million views.
Within the first week after the video was posted, the Peterson Brothers became the top news story of many major news outlets and had an overwhelming response from the social media sphere. Then came the call from New York. On June 29, 2012, the Peterson brothers were interviewed in New York on FOX News.
In the months that followed, Greg and his brothers have been busy, from appearances at the Kansas State Fair to performing live at the National FFA Convention.
“With my training from my classes in agriculture communications, I know what needs to be said and I know the issues in agriculture — that’s what makes me passionate,” Greg said. “I am tired of people not knowing what farmers do and how they are feeding everyone.”
Greg’s musical talents help portray these issues effectively. In addition to ThePetersonFarmBros on YouTube, Greg has his personal music channel, GregPetersonMusic.
The motivation as a family to take on the role as advocates for agriculture has continued to grow. It wasn’t long before Greg and his brothers were asked if they were planning on making more videos. On Dec. 4, 2012, the PetersonFarmBros posted their second video, “Farmer Style,” a parody of the song “Gangnam Style.” That video has now reached more than 13 million views.
This is an incredible accomplishment for three young farm boys from Assaria, Kan., population 447 people. Now that’s rural.
“I’ve learned that normal people can do big things, especially when you get help from an agricultural community that supports each other so well,” Greg said.
It’s time to leave the FOX News studio in New York City, where Greg, Nathan and Kendal of the Peterson Farm Brothers have been interviewed about their parody music video which went viral. We commend the Peterson family, including parents David and Marla and sister, Laura, for making a difference by communicating about agriculture in this innovative way. They are helping people understand where their food comes from. Not only are they doing it Farmer Style, these brothers are rural and they know it.
The mission of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development is to enhance rural development by helping rural people help themselves. The Kansas Profile radio series and columns are produced with assistance from the K-State Research and Extension Department of Communications News Unit. A photo of Ron Wilson is available. Audio and text files of Kansas Profiles are also available. For more information about the Huck Boyd Institute, interested persons can visit Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development.