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Peterson Farm Bros at Tri-Rivers Fair

Leslie ManningJuly 26, 2022

Ten years ago – Greg, Nathan and Kendal finished up wheat harvest on their family’s farm and then put the finishing touches on a parody video they made for a handful of friends to watch. A week and 5-million views later – they were flying to New York City to talk on “Fox & Friends,” about farming.

Coming up Saturday, August 6, the Peterson Farm Bros will celebrate that 10-year milestone with a free concert in the Great Plains Convention Center at the Tony’s Pizza Event Center.

“We rarely perform all three of us together, maybe once or twice a year, and it’s usually close to
home,” Greg Peterson said. “We used to do three brother performances when we were still in
college. Then the farm grew to where it relied on one brother being home.”

Peterson, the eldest of the Peterson Farm Bros, hosted a 10 year anniversary celebration on
Saturday, July 1 with a farm tour and free concert at The Heights, a wedding venue on his
property located on Burma Road.

For anyone who may have missed the three brother performance, the Tri-Rivers Fair will be
featuring the three Peterson Farm Bros during a free concert at 5 p.m. Saturday, July 6 in the
Great Plains Manufacturing Convention Center at the Tony’s Pizza Event Center.

Promoting agriculture with music

“I’m 100 percent using my major and everything I learned in college,” Peterson said. “When I
was in college, I did not think that was going to be the case. I’m literally using everything I
learned in college in my current professional life.”

Peterson, who graduated from Kansas State University in 2013, earned a Bachelors degree in
agriculture communications and journalism, with a minor in music performance. While a junior
at K-State, Peterson presented a project idea to his brothers, Nathan and Kendal, who were
still in high school at Southeast of Saline High School.

“I came up with the Farming and I Grow It parody when I was at a Sonic drive-in with a couple
of friends and I’m Sexy and I Know It came on the radio,” Peterson said. “I took that idea home
and shared it with Nathan and Kendal when they were still in high school.”

Peterson had made a few other videos prior to the music video parody, featuring activity on the
farm and music videos he had recorded.

“I had a few other videos before,” Peterson said. “Just a few simple things. That’s where I
learned to edit and make music videos. I’m kind of the one who does all the behind the scene
work producing, editing and communicating.”

During ag communication classes at K-State, the content was often focused on brainstorming
ways to communicate about the agriculture industry. Peterson’s experience creating simple
videos provided the foundation for the idea to use music and make a music video to
communicate about agriculture.

“I grew up attending Southeast of Saline, and people always knew we were farm kids, and we
were always talking about farming,” Peterson said. “We tried to break some of the stereotypes,
maybe that farming was boring or stereotypical things of what farmers would wear or how they
would look.”

Creating a parody, and developing new lyrics to an already popular tune, dates back to
Southeast of Saline days, also.

“I wrote a parody for English 11 to She’s My Cherry Pie about Henry David Thoreau,” Peterson
said. “I’ve been doing it since I was a little kid. It is something that just comes naturally.”

By June of 2012, Peterson had taken his idea from the Sonic Drive-In, and developed the lyrics
to the parody I’m Farming and I Grow It, a music video promoting agriculture, that was
released on June 25, 2012. The video featured Peterson and his brothers, with their little sister,
Laura, behind the camera.

“It got five million views in a week,” Peterson said. “That was the first time we tried to
communicate anything about agriculture beyond our friends, and it definitely surpassed our
wildest dreams.”

The day the video was released, Peterson went to work in the field, taking his lunch with him.
Nathan and Kendal were eating lunch at home, watching the computer tally the views on
YouTube, where the music video was released.

“They called and said, “Dude, you need to get in here. This video is blowing up,” Peterson said.
“It got up to 20,000 views that next day. We had talked about how many views we would get.
We said maybe we will hit 50,000 in the next few years, that was our benchmark. We hit 50,000
in 48 hours.”

According to Peterson, farming came to a stand still that week, as media requests kept coming
in. Peterson estimates that he did over 20 interviews in one day, with KSN, KWCH and KAKE in
their barn yard all at once, interviewing one brother at a time in different locations on the
property.

“Videos go viral all the time now,” Peterson said. “In 2012, there just wasn’t much video
content out there, and that was kind of what created the media drive. I have no idea how they
got my phone number, because it wasn’t posted anywhere.”

In addition to local, regional and state media, the Peterson Farm Bros were approached by the
national media when I’m Farming and I Grow It went viral.

“We got called by Good Morning America first, and they wanted us to dance on their show with
the original artists,” Peterson said. “We were uncomfortable with that, so we said no. Looking
back, that was a crazy thing to say no.”

Then, Fox and Friends called, and requested a talk show interview.

“They flew us out to New York City and put us up for the night,” Peterson said. “That was an
exciting opportunity.”

As the summer of 2012 wound down, Peterson prepared to return back to K-State to complete
his senior year, while brother, Nathan, anticipated his first year at K-State as a freshman.

“I made a few random videos in the fall, and we made Farmer Style in December over
Christmas break,” Peterson said. “We filmed it in two days, and it wasn’t as finely tuned. We
were just trying to get on the Gangnum Style trend. That trend was to create a parody, or
dance the Gangnum Style dance. Everybody was talking about Gangnum Style for, like, two
months.”

According to Peterson, the Peterson Farm Bros parody video to Gangnum Style, titled Farmer
Style, was one of the top five parodies of Gangnum Style.

“Farmer Style has over 18 million views,” Peterson said. “I’m Farming and I Grow It went viral
because it was the first of its kind, a parody rap song about farming. I lot of people shared it
that are in agriculture. Farmer Style went twice as fast as I’m Farming and I Grow It. It wasn’t
circulated as much in the ag community, so it really bridged the gap into urban audiences.”

Since its release, the I’m Farming and I Grow It parody music video, created by the Peterson
Farm Bros, has cumulated over 12 million views. The Farmer Style parody video has over 18
million views.

“We had so many comments on Farmer Style, where you could tell that people had never seen
information about farming in their life,” Peterson said. “It exposed us to the idea that there are
a lot of people who really don’t know anything about agriculture. We realized there needs to be
some education, beyond just entertainment.”

According to Peterson, the Peterson Farm Bros did not set out to make a bunch of parody
videos and educational videos until Farmer Style went viral.

“When both of them went viral, we saw this was a platform,” Peterson said. “I was still in
school, so I don’t think we really got started posting content until I graduated and I was home
full-time working on the farm. Then, I started making videos a little more consistently.”

According to Peterson, Facebook became the main platform for the Peterson Farm Bros to
share videos, with their Facebook page jumping to 100,000 followers pretty quickly.

“For probably five years, we posted videos to YouTube and shared to Facebook,” Peterson
said. “Then, they quit getting along. Once Facebook got video, we started uploading to both.”

Videos posted on Facebook would go viral, and Peterson would often post pictures of what he
was doing on the farm that day with a caption. Followers would often post comments in the
discussion threads, and Peterson would answer questions about agriculture.

“Ever since, that has been just as much what we are doing as the entertainment – the
education and answering people’s questions,” Peterson said. “A lot of people had questions
just about our farming operation and how it worked, what crops we raised and how we took
care of our cattle. There were a lot of misconceptions too … like ‘I’ve heard farmers do this’ or
“Our food isn’t healthy because of this.’ We spend a lot of time dedicated to answering
people’s questions.”

To leverage time, Peterson came up with a blog system, involving answers to some of the more
frequently asked questions the Peterson Farm Bros received.

“When the questions would come up, I would refer them to the blog,” Peterson said. “That way
we weren’t typing out long comments, multiple times that said the same thing.”

10 years of innovative ag communications

“About every four to six months we do a new parody, because they are such a huge
undertaking,” Peterson said. “Sometimes we want to do a parody to a song, but I can’t come
up with lyrics to the whole thing. That’s where some medleys come in.”

In April of 2013, the Peterson Farm Bros partnered with the Kansas Department of Agriculture
to promote the new From the Land of Kansas trademark program, publishing a YMCA parody
titled From the Land of Kansas. This video was followed by a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air parody,
titled A Fresh Breath of Farm Air, published in June of 2013. The ten year collection of videos
on the Peterson Farm Bros YouTube channel includes 24 parody music videos, some original
songs produced by Peterson and Thomas Cook out of Wichita, Christmas carols family sing
alongs and many educational videos focused on work completed on the farm.

“I will write lyrics in a matter of hours or days,” Peterson said. “I wait for the inspiration to hit,
and then it comes together. I write a lot of parody lyrics sitting in the tractor seat, or sometimes
I will kind of woodshed the lyrics sitting at my desk at home if I really need to get it done.”

Before any filming is done, ideally the Peterson Farm Bros record the audio in Peterson’s
recording studio set up in his home.

“When we are filming, we have that audio playing, and we lips sync to our own voices,”
Peterson said. “You can’t really record outside in the Kansas wind live. That doesn’t really
work.
Sometimes, when time is limited, the Peterson Farm Bros just memorize the lyrics, and film
without audio.

“We’ve gone and filmed scenes multiple times where Nathan and Kendal didn’t even know
their audio yet, and I would just tell them the words, and we would film them saying the
words,”Peterson said.

The next step Peterson accomplishes in the process of producing a video for the Peterson
Farm Bros is story boarding, marking out the scenes he expects to include in each video.

“In our early videos, we wouldn’t really story board,” Peterson said. “We would just mess
around until we had filled the video. In our first few videos, our sister was 11 or 12-years-old,
and she would sit behind the tripod and she was the one who filmed our videos.”

The video filming is mainly done on an iPhone, with the I’m Farming and I Grow It video filmed
on an iPod touch.

“That really dates that first video,” Peterson said. “I think I got an iPhone that start of my senior
year of college. Once our sister, Laura, got into high school, we would put the phone on a
tripod and let it go.”

Once the audio is recorded and video is filmed, Peterson uses Garage Band to edit audio and
iMovie to edit video.

“I’d bought a MacBook Prof my freshman year of college,” Peterson said. “I learned by trial
and error, just messing around. By my junior year, I knew pretty much everything I wanted to do
on that software.”

The finished product is then uploaded to Facebook and YouTube. Peterson has dabbled with
TikTok, posting Farm Life videos to TikTok. The posts have received over three million views,
and the Peterson Farm Bros have over 100,000 followers on TikTok.

“TikTok is a totally different language for me,” Peterson said. “That is a young person’s social
media game. I’m doing my best to learn it, but we’ve maybe been a little slow to move over to
TikTok. If you want to be successful at TikTok, you need to be posting everyday and keep that
content relevant. We have enough social media responsibility, we can’t justify that.”

Plus, for the Peterson Farm Bros, YouTube and Facebook are paying the bills.

“We have ads on our videos,” Peterson said. “We get a deal from YouTube and Facebook every
month, split three ways. It’s not like we can quit farming. It is worth the time to create all those
videos. We don’t make money off the parodies, because they are copyrighted, but the vlogs of
what we are doing on the farm, that don’t have music. We make money on those.”

Ten years after I’m Farming and I Grow It, all three Peterson Farm Bros have graduated from
high school and Kansas State University, as has their little sister, Laura. Nathan majored in ag
technology management, and manages anything on the farm that is technology including GPS
and monitors in the equipment helping with precision agriculture practices. Kendal majored in
animal science, focusing on the livestock portion of the diversified farming operation located
outside of Assaria, where the Peterson Farm Bros videos are shot. In addition to farming,
Peterson has coordinated speaking engagements and performances, similar to the concert
scheduled during the Tri-Rivers Fair at 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6 in the Great Plains Convention
Center at the Tony’s Pizza Event Center.

“I would say for the last nine years, I’ve been a speaker,” Peterson said. “It’s definitely a hybrid
of speaking and performing. It’s almost always half speaking and half entertaining, with
speaking in between the songs on a certain subject. It’s advocating on agriculture.”

Peterson speaks at between 50-60 events each year, with the most speaking gigs in one year
being 80. Nathan and Kendal average between 30-40 speaking gigs in a year, alternating who
comes so that one brother continues working on the farm.

In addition to earning degrees and finding their role in the family farming operation with their
parents David and Marla Peterson, all three Peterson Farm Bros have gotten married, and each
have at least one daughter … Kendal has two. Little sister Laura got married this year, and
moved to Nebraska.

“All of our kids are under the age of two,” Peterson said. “Things have changed more in the last
two years than at any other time since we started doing videos. We are trying to find a new
balance between farming time, family time, video time and performing time. It’s still trying to
work itself out.”

Copyright © Meridian Media, 2022. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Meridian Media’s express consent.

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