Farmer educates with videos
The Peterson Brothers of Assaria have generated a big following on YouTube with their videos related to agriculture, and Derek Klingenberg, a 32-year-old farmer from Peabody, is following close on their heels.
The 2001 Kansas State University graduate works with his brother, Grant, and father, Vernon, in a large, diversified farming operation. He creates music videos whenever he has time.
“I like it a lot,” he said. “It is a creative outlet.”
He created his first video, “Bumble Bees in the Hay,” three or four years ago when he led a group known as Possum Boys. They also created “Possum in the Barn.”
The group has since split up, and Klingenberg does most of his videos by himself using a tripod. He figures he has made 17 or more.
The most popular one so far is “Ranching Awesome,” a parody of a song by Thrift Shop posted March 11. As of Tuesday, it had garnered 233,063 hits. The video features scenes of everyday life around the farm and information about beef and pasture burning as well as glimpses of several family members.
Several videos created this past winter showed snowy scenes on the farm. Klingenberg made a short one called May Snow last Thursday.
He surmises that most people who watch his videos are from the agricultural community, but he hopes they will spread to a broader audience.
“I’m trying to spread the word about agriculture,” he said. “We (farmers) kind of get a bad rap. So we are using social media to reach out to people.”
He invested last year in a high-definition camera.
“I don’t have a high-definition TV, but I have a high-definition camera,” he said.
A 20x15-foot green cloth screen hangs on a wall inside a new machine shed where Klingenberg has a studio. The screen is used as a backdrop for videos of himself in action. Using an advanced software editing program, he can crop and layer scenes, transposing them onto the green screen for desired effect. He does the editing on a computer in the basement of his home.
Sometimes, Klingenberg makes videos for commercial companies such as Mid-Kansas Coop and Prairie Harvest. The money he makes goes into a personal “Fun Fund” that he uses to buy more items for his studio.
His latest creative move is the construction of a flying platform for himself, made out of steel pipe. He plans to use it in his next video, another one about ranching.
Klingenberg said he has learned to know a lot of people in the agricultural community who are using social media to spread the word about agriculture.
The word about his own work is spreading. Ron Wilson, executive director of the Huck Boyd Institute, recently wrote a Kansas Profile article on Klingenberg that was published in Grass and Grain, an area farm publication.
Klingenberg has a presence on Facebook and Twitter. He has a wife, Kara, and three daughters: Makayla, 5; Alyssa, 3; and Lauren, 4 mos.