What the fox says is still a mystery to Derek Klingenburg of Peabody, but he does know what the farmer says, and his recent video parody of the song “What Does the Fox Say?” by Ylvis recently went viral with over 600,000 views Tuesday night.
“I had no idea it was going to get this big,” he said. “It was an easy song and it was easy to come up with some farmer-related lyrics.”
For the small-town farmer, this is big recognition as he tries to spread his message of farming and rural life.
“It’s weird how few know what’s going on, on a farm,” he said. “It’s the 21st-century farmer’s job to educate and feed the world.”
Klingenburg said his goal is to share with people that have no idea what farming is about.
“If people know about something they’re less likely to think negative about it,” he said. “I feel like farming has a bad rep and I want city folk to see we are good people trying to work hard and make an honest living, not poison the food chain. Farmers are so busy that it’s hard for them to get out and talk to people, so I thought, ‘I’ll do it through video.’”
Klingenburg is a third-generation farmer. His grandpa founded their farm outside Peabody after emigrating from Russia. They farm corn, soybeans, and winter wheat and raise cattle.
“It’s important to pass on that legacy,” he said. “I’m not forcing my daughters to become farmers, but I want to teach them about it and appreciate all farmers do.”
He has created several videos over the years, but “What Does the Farmer Say?” was the first to go viral.
“I posted it at 8 p.m. Oct. 29 and by midnight I had a tweet from a CNN blogger asking about the video,” he said.
The “Eatocracy” blog that posts about food and farming called him “delightfully demented.”
“I thought it was funny,” Klingenburg said.
Klingenburg said the videos were his creative outlet. “What Does the Farmer Say?” took 18 days to shoot and edit.
“I started right after harvest, so I could get it up while the song was still popular,” he said. “I try not to think about how long they take because they take so much time.”
His family has gotten used to seeing him with video camera.
“They think it’s funny,” he said. “Many of them participate and my three girls like to dance in them.”
He shoots all of the videos, and special effects are done with a giant green screen in his farm’s shop. He gets the equipment in the video to “dance” by using a hydraulic jack.
“The only thing I don’t do myself is record the song,” he said. “I go to Doug Krehbiel’s studio in Newtown to do that.”
Klingenburg already has his next video planned.
“I was going to release the next one first, but when the fox song became so popular I decided I better do that one first,” he said.
His first video, “Bumblebees in the Hay,” took him a year to make.
“I didn’t have good equipment, like I do now and wasn’t in a hurry, so it took longer,” he said.
Klingenburg wrote the song for his first video.
“We started doing parodies because they seemed to be more popular and they took less time,” he said. “I get pretty tired of them by the end of the editing process because you listen to them hundreds of times.”