By Dan Rankin
From the unlikely location of Peabody, Kansas, cattle farmer Derek Klingenberg has built up a YouTube subscriber base numbering in the tens of thousands, with his parody music videos and other comedic clips having received over 20 million views.
The secret to the success of this “Rural” Al Yankovic seems to be that he embraces his inner goofball. He’s not the best singer, certainly, and his lyrics may not be the most polished, but that hasn’t stopped him from cutting together entertaining videos that play on such songs as “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift, “The Fox” by Ylvis, “Sugar” by Maroon 5, and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” from the Disney film Frozen. His most popular parody video, “What Does the Farmer Say?” has received over 6 million views alone. While “Weird” Al is known for his accordion-playing prowess, Klingenberg’s videos are also notable for showcasing his talent for playing another traditionally un-cool instrument: the trombone.
His most popular video, having received over 9 million views, is titled “Serenading the cattle with my Trombone” in which he plays the Lorde hit “Royals” out in his pasture, and cattle are gradually drawn to the sound.
In his most recent clip, titled “Darth Farmer,” Klingenberg takes advantage of the current Star Wars craze (perhaps you have noticed that craze also rubbing off on this issue of the Independent) and heads to the pasture once more to play for his animals some of the more famous movements from the John Williams-composed score of Star Wars.
Also adept at filming with drone technology, Klingenberg utilizes a drone to give a bird’s eye view to many of his videos. Combining the drone with the luring power of his trombone playing and the mother of all draws, a feed truck, he does some neat things with herd shapes, rounding the cows up into hearts and smiley faces, or, as he calls it, “#CowArt.”
He gets his friends, family and co-workers involved, helping agriculture “go viral,” in the same spirit as Ontario farmer Andrew Campbell’s “#Farm365″ Twitter project (@FreshAirFarmer). Beyond just the entertainment value, Ontario farm families would benefit from finding “Farmer Derek Klingenberg” on YouTube or “Klingenberg Farms Studios” on Facebook, and thinking about ways they might promote their own ventures using social media.