Sunday, June 30, 2013

Farming and I Grow It: Greg Peterson's story

Greg Peterson giving his presentation.
What would you do to advocate about agriculture?
Who made a random YouTube video as a joke and it has now gone viral and been viewed in 219 countries?? – Greg Peterson and his brothers. At the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Youth Conference, Fueling Agriculture and Cultivating Excellence (FACE) the keynote speaker was Greg Peterson. Yes, one of the very same Peterson bros. Greg Peterson is the oldest of four, with two younger brothers and a younger sister. He recently graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in Agricultural Communications. This is the story of how it all began..

Greg, a junior in college at the time was enjoying half price milkshakes at Kansas State University’s local sonic when the song, “Sexy and I know it” came on. He jokingly mentioned to his friends that he should change the words and make it about farming. Greg brought the idea home to his two brothers and they began thinking of ways to film and change the lyrics to fit their lifestyle. It took about 2-3 weeks of video recording with only 2-3 nights of recording the audio and editing. While they were going through this process they did not really tell their friends or parents what they were doing because they did not think it was that big of a deal. They joked it would go viral but – that was more just talk and they did not actually believe it would happen. Four days after the video, "Farming and I grow it", was posted on YouTube, Fox News flew him and his family to New York City to be on the show.

The equipment  they use to produce their videos are quite basic. They use a smart phone and an audio technical voice condenser. To put everything together they use garageband to layer the music and the audio. Once the audio was done they put the film clips on top and edit it until it is just right. They set up the phone on a tripod and have their sister stand behind it to make sure they are in the shot.

This is apart of his presentation.
His ideas on how to promote agriculture.
Greg explained that the success of their videos rely on a variety of techniques, such as relating to the audience, creativity, professionalism, homemade aspect, animals, family and popularity of the original song. He included that the animals and the pictures of the babies were put in for all the girls out there. He said that he personally likes the ‘Farming and I grow it’ song better than the Gangam style song even though it got more views. He said “It’s just a Korean guy rapping words we don’t understand”.

His ideas and suggestions for promoting agriculture is to take initiative. Every little bit counts and it is important to support each other (other sectors of the agriculture industry). Greg told the students to stick with what they know and to tell their story because people are listening. He even stressed that it doesn't have to be through making a video, but that really, anything can happen – so make sure to try your ideas because you don’t want to look back later on down the road and wish that you would have taken the chance with some of the ideas you had. “If all of us were having conversations with new people every day (about agriculture), a ripple effect would occur”.

Greg with the PA Farm Bureau Interns.
 L-R Kelsey Zook, Me (Jeanne Case), Greg, Lindsay Royer
During the question and answer session after the presentation the questions got a little more personal, such as, how did this new “fame” affect your family life? Greg said that when they go places, people tend to stare and know who they are. Really, their fame happened in a day. He was just a normal farmer college student who decided to make a spoof. As a family he said it brought them closer together. They get to go on family trips, such as the NYC trip and the trip that they got to take to Orlando, Florida to get an award. A trip coming up for himself, one of his brothers, and his father is that they are going to Germany in November to attend the largest AG conference in the world, AGRI TECHNICA. He said it’s hard not to get a big head but that his parents really keep them grounded and remind them about who they are.

Do you have any issues with music licensing? When they first started becoming famous, people would write comments on the walls and say that they would get in trouble for using other people’s music since they use the music to other songs as their background music. However, after a little bit of worrying and panicking, they found out that if they do not profit from the music, such as by selling it on iTunes, then they will be okay. They do make t-shirts that have some of the words on it, but that is okay since they own the words, as they made them up.

I personally asked him what his goals were after college before and after this ‘fame’ happened. He said that originally he wanted to return to the farm but also write about agriculture on the side as that was focus of his degree. After the success with the music videos he said that he would like to continue with that until the fame runs out, as well as farming. Their family has about 1,300 head of cattle as well as 1,000 acres of cropland. He said that if all of his siblings decide to take over the farm then they will have to expand, but that it is not a concern right now.

I believe that the students got a lot out of his presentation. He is only a little bit older than them and is just a simple farm kid with a cellphone that has recording capabilities. Greg showed them that if you live out your random ideas that you have --that greats things can come from it. My question to you is -- How will you advocate for agriculture?

 To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog

Jeanne Case
Student Blogger
2014 Dover HS Student Teacher
Twitter: JRose_Case

1 comment:

  1. Just love those guys and their videos - way to go PFB to bring them to the FACE conference!!