Peabody farmer taps digital media to grow awareness



Today?s technology has changed the way 21st century farmers and ranchers stay informed and manage their operations.

?Anybody my age and younger probably doesn?t read newspapers or watch the news,? said Derek Klingen?berg, 34, of rural Peabody. ?I get it all on Twitter.?

Klingenberg tweets about the family business, Klingen?berg Farms Inc., which also includes father Vernon and brothers Grant and Brett, who pastors a small Mennonite church in Beatrice, Neb.

Klingenberg also maintains an online presence with a farm blog as well as Facebook and YouTube homepages where he makes frequent photo and video posts.

The family homestead was first established by grandfather Willie Klingenberg, an immigrant from West Prussia, in the 1930s. Now Grant lives on the family home place while Derek and their father live nearby.

?The job of 21st century farmers is to feed the world food and knowledge,? Klingen?berg said about his chosen vocation.


Pride in farming

Klingenberg takes pride in being a farmer, as evidenced by the videos ?Ranching Here? and ?Ranching Awesome,? both posted on his YouTube homepage, where he states the site features raising grain, beef, kids and creativity.

?It?s a creative outlet,? Klingenberg said about his video projects.

But he?s also discovered social media to be an effective means to try to educate others about agriculture.

?Ag, I think we get a bad rap because we don?t go out and tell people what we?re doing, so they assume the worst,? said Klingenberg, who graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in agriculture and a minor in agronomy in 2001.

Today?s farmers, Klingenberg said, face the dilemma of feeding the world?s growing population.

?It appears that we?re smart enough to keep up with the growing population, but if we get too many regulations and they don?t let the technology out, we?re going to have a problem,? he said. ?We?re not going to produce enough.?

He recognizes the need to convey reliable information that counters stereotypes people may have about farming.

?It?s hard for you to go out and do that, and you?re working all the time,? he said, adding that it?s much easier for him to sit at his computer to put a video together and post it.

?So I?m trying to connect the city people.?

Starting out

As for the beginning of his interest in videography, which he produces under Klingenberg Farms Studios, Klingenberg said, ?I played around with cameras when I was a kid, and I?d imagine what I could do.?

Years later the necessary technology to do what he imagined became mainstream.

?All of a sudden I realized I could afford to buy some of this stuff,? he said about the software and video equipment he uses.

He first started working with video and editing when he and his brothers were part of a blue-grass music group called the Possum Boys. Klingenberg wrote the lyrics and music for ?Bumble Bees in the Hay? and ?Possum in the Barn,? which he produced as music videos about four years ago.

?I found out that I kind of have a knack for editing,? he said. ?I just love editing.?

The software he now uses is Sony?s Vegas Pro.

?I know there are better ones out there,? Klingenberg said. ?I started picking up business so I decided to go for the full upgrade, with the camera and everything, so I decided to go with that one. It?s good, though.

?It would be fun to play around a little more with special effects. No reason why I need to?I just want to.?

He has included friends and family in his projects, except for wife Kara.

?She?s out,? he said with a laugh. ?But she has helped out sometimes.?

The Klingenbergs are raising three daughters?Makayla, 5, Alyssa, 3, and Lauren, 5 months.

He shoots video with a JVC high definition camera and uses a green screen for his video productions on which he can replace background images.

?I painted one on the wall of that shed, and just the lighting was a struggle,? he said, so he?s built a much bigger one, which measures 20 feet by 15 feet and is mounted on the west wall of a Morton building that also houses machinery and the farm office.

Most of his filming is done using a tripod.

?I?m able to zoom in,? he said. ?I can control the zoom in editing to a certain point, and then it distorts it a little and then on the green screen.

?Sometimes I get someone to move with me.?

New project

Klingenberg said he has a project soon to be posted, but he isn?t ready release too many details about the video.

?I?m almost done,? he said. ?I?ve been almost done for a while. I lost my voice a couple of weeks ago, so I haven?t recorded it yet. I made a rough recording with my camera, but I?ll go to a studio to record it.?

Klingenberg records the voice-overs at Krehbiel Record?ing in Newton.

He often uses parodies to convey his message.

A recent one, ?I Heart This GMO Sweet Ice Tea,? references the ongoing controversy about genetically modified organisms in foods.

?It?s not very popular,? he said about the video, evidenced by 2,500 recorded views compared to nearly 250,000 for ?Ranching Awesome,? posted about two months ago.

?I think only farmers get it. I?m just trying to make fun of the acronym.?


To view Klingenberg?s videos visit,,, and

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