Conservation and farming was the focus of the Butler County Conservation District annual meeting and banquet held Thursday in Benton.
“We have been involved in a lot of educational projects this year,” said Brenda Nyberg, district manager.
They had a stewardship theme for the year looking at “Where does your water shed?”
They presented information on this topic to schools throughout Butler County. In addition to the water festival held at Butler Community College for elementary students, they also had the soil and stream trailers they took around the county.
They also held the poster and limerick contest for the county schools (see results on Tuesday’s School Page).
Nyberg went on to talk about some of the services they offer and a cover crop field day they took during the year.
“It’s been a busy year,” she said.
Next at the meeting, they presented the 2013 Kansas Banker’s Association Soil Conservation Award to John Roy Farms of rural Benton. The farm, owned by John and Dana Roy, has been in the family since the late 1960s. John’s father began leasing this farm in 1938 and had the opportunity to buy it in 1968. After buying the farm, John’s dad began installing waterways and approximately four miles of terraces on the property to control erosion, an effort John continues today.
Conservation practices on the farm includes farmed and grassed waterways, terraces, concrete grade stabilization structures and filter strips in addition to no-till farming, which he has been implementing the past three years. John received help from a mentor, who was his neighbor and friend to make this successful. They grow such crops as corn, soybeans and wheat. In addition to the farm in Butler County, John and Dana also own irrigated land in Nebraska.
John has used the El Dorado Service Center to help him meet his conservation goals and to glean new ideas in conservation and farming. He has participated in the USDA Environmental Quality Incentives Program and used the EQUIP program to offset some of the installation costs to install a large concrete drop box structure and a farmed waterway.
Over the years, John has seen many changes in farming, which created opportunities to achieve goals such as preservation of soil and wind and water erosion, preservation of water needed for plants in dry summers, time savings and reduction of overall operating cost.
An avid hunter, John tries to manage his farm operation to benefit wildlife.
Following the presentation, guest speaker Derek Klingenberg shared his story of filming YouTube videos such as the popular one, “What Does the Farmer Say?”
Page 2 of 2 - “People ask me why do I do this – because I can,” he said.
He talked about how this latest video came to be.
Klingenberg was in the field last fall running the cart and he got a text from a friend asking him “What does the farmer say?” This got Klingenberg to thinking. Within a few moments he had the idea for the video. He then spent 18 days making it and released it on Oct. 30. Since then, it has been viewed by people all over the world and has garnered him numerous interviews, including a radio interview for a station in Australia and a live interview on Fox national news.
“After doing all these interviews, I realized I was camera shy,” he said.
He even got a phone call from the producers of the Kardashians who wanted to do a realty show on him, his farming and his filming.
He said after his wife quit laughing because he didn’t know who the Kardashians were he thought it probably would be best not to do the show.
He also has been described as “delightfully demented” by CNN, although Klingenberg has a different description for himself, ODD – ornery, delightful, demented.
He went on to talk about how he films the videos.
The first thing he does after writing the parody is to record the audio of him singing and playing the banjo in a studio. Then he starts filming, something he does from 4:30 to 6:30 in the mornings, the only time he has available. He has a 15-foot by 20-foot green screen in his heated shop that allows him to do special effects.
He talked about some of those special effects and how he achieved them.
“The question is will we be producing enough food in the future to feed everyone,” he continued.
He thought the real concern was if the consumer trusted the farmers.
“Since the inception of smart phones and social media and you going out and teaching these kids, I’m optimistic,” he said.
He said his farm parody videos are a way to get a lot of people’s attention and provide a positive look at farming and farmers.
“I want to spread the positive message of farming,” he said. “I want it to look like we are good people, which we are.”
He said he is self-taught in making the videos and likes to try something new each time he makes one.
To view Klingenberg’s videos, search for his name on YouTube.