Like most farmers, Derek Klingenberg takes care of a herd of cattle and grows crops like wheat, soybeans and corn.
Unlike most farmers, however, Klingenberg made a name for himself playing the trumpet for his cows.
Better known as “Farmer Derek” on YouTube, Klingenberg pulls in millions of views with parodies of pop music with a farm focus, and on Friday, he put on a rare concert for the kids at Tri County Elementary.
Klingenberg is the uncle of Caleb Klingenberg, a student at Tri County Elementary. While on a visit to see Caleb and his dad, Brett Klingenberg, the pastor at First Mennonite Church in Beatrice, Farmer Derek put on a show.
About nine years ago, Farmer Derek created his first YouTube video, “Bumblebees in the Hay,” but it was a video shot in 2014 that brought him fame.
The 2014 video shows him sitting in a lawn chair playing “Royals” by Lorde on the trombone as cows slowly came by to listen. The clip garnered more than 10 million views after being shown by news networks around the world and even by Ellen DeGeneres.
After being introduced by Caleb and Tri County Elementary Principal Jesse Gronemeyer, Farmer Derek took the stage to perform “Ranching Awesome”—a parody of Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop." The music video for the song was shot at his family farm in Peabody, Kan. and celebrates cattle ranching.
“I am Farmer Derek and I love farming,” he said. “When I was in school, I didn't do sports. I would go home and play on the farm, play my trombone and use my imagination. One time, I built a time machine and I'm pretty sure it worked.”
He sang along with the song “Hay House,” which is about the fort he and his family made out of hay bales over the summer. He then performed a parody of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” from the Disney movie “Frozen." His version was called “Do You Want to Drive My Tractor?” He also sang a parody of the viral Ylvis song, “What Does the Fox Say?” called “What Does the Farmer Say?”
Groenemeyer and Caleb thanked Klingenberg for his concert with a Tri County “Trojan Pride” t-shirt and a quick rendition of the school’s song before Farmer Derek was swarmed by students eager for autographs.
The concert was something that has been in the works for a while now, Groenemeyer said, but the timing just hadn’t been right until now.
“We've tried in the past and it just didn't work out,” he said. “Finally, over Christmas break, Derek emailed me and said, 'What about Jan. 12?' and I said, 'Yes, let's make it work.'”
Klingenberg said that, while he releases a new video on his YouTube channel every couple of weeks, he doesn’t get to perform live all that often.
“Every once in a while,” he said. “I don't have too much time, but I do like getting grade schools. They're a really good crowd.”