In the latest parody of the popular "Gangnam Style" video, a version featuring three brothers from a Kansas family farm has gone viral—9.5 million views and counting—and has put small family farms and the agriculture industry on the digital map.
Complete with footage of harvesting crops, cows and John Deere tractors,"Farmer Style" showcases the work on the Peterson Farm, a fifth-generation operation in Assaria in central Kansas. With a fourth sibling, Laura Peterson, behind the camera, the brothers horse dance their way across fields and on the back of pickup trucks. "Farmer Style" was even featured on a giant screen at a recent University of Texas-Kansas State football game in front of 50,000 enthusiastic spectators.
The video has turned the siblings into agriculture ambassadors. "The goal was to shed some light on who we really were and how hard we work to feed the world," said Greg Peterson, whose featured in the video with his brothers Kendal and Nathan. "Big cities are just far removed from where food comes from." (Read more: 5 Tips for Raising Entrepreneurial Kids)
Said one fan on the farm's Facebook page,"Who would think that the next generation of rappers would be from the country!?!?!"
From Seoul to the Kansas Plains
"Farmer Style" is a riff on the original "Gangnam Style" video by South Korean rapper Psy. The infectious video's 941.7 million views (and counting) has made it the most frequently watched video on Google's YouTube. "Gangnam" refers to a tony district in southern Seoul, similar to Beverly Hills, and the video is a satire on the neighborhood's conspicuous consumption and luxury boutiques. (Read more: 'Hey! Sexy Lady!': 'Gangnam Style' Artist Hits the US)
This isn't the first time the Petersons have tried to mimic a YouTube sensation. The siblings launched their YouTube farming channel about a year ago, but their traditional educational videos about farming garnered only a few thousand clicks. "I needed something to bring in more views," said 21-year-old Greg Peterson, a senior at Kansas State University.
The Petersons decided to take a cue from others who have parodied pop songs and posted the videos online. "I'm Farming and I Grow It" is the Petersons' take on "Sexy and I Know It." Released in June, the farming take on the thumping tune now has nearly 8 million views.
Serious, Family Farming Ventures
The viral-video fun is intended to call attention to farm communities' important role in the economy, and Americans' daily lives. Chances are something you ate today came from Kansas, which is among the top 10 producing states for wheat, cattle, sunflowers, potatoes, corn, hay, soybeans,hogs and alfalfa, according to the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
And farming is a decidedly family affair in Kansas. There are more than 58,000 family-owned farms in Kansas — about 89 percent of all farms in the state,according to the 2007 USDA Census of Agriculture, the latest set of data available. Small family farms—with annual sales less of than $250,000—comprised 88 percent of U.S. farms in 2007, according to the USDA.
The Peterson siblings are glad their agriculture passion is getting global attention. "Farmers deserve respect like other occupations," Greg Peterson said.
The brothers recently screened "Farmer Style" at a Kansas Farm Bureau banquet with 1,000 guests. "They got a standing ovation," said Meagan Cramer of the bureau. "They have been so well received."