April 10, 2023 at 3:07 p.m.

Sharing their story one video at a time

Gieroks advocate for agriculture through social media

By Abby [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

INDEPENDENCE, Wis. – Aaron Gierok sees his family farm through the lens of a video camera.
As often as he can, Aaron takes time off of work and makes the one hour commute to his home farm to help his dad with chores and projects. While he is there, he documents their work and shares edited videos on YouTube. His work has earned him more than 32,000 subscribers
“People get to see a more old school farm like this that dad built,” Aaron said. “It’s in a beautiful spot, and they can see that the small farm still works.”
Aaron’s parents, George and Mary Gierok, milk 45 cows in a tiestall barn near Independence. Aaron grew up helping his parents on the dairy along with his three siblings. While he has been filming videos since 2017, Aaron started the YouTube channel in 2021 as a way to advocate for agriculture and his family’s small farm.
Since purchasing the farm 32 years ago, George has added hand-crafted buildings and fences to the farm, which adds to its character. Whether it is a heifer shed or a carving, woodworking is a creative outlet for George and is something the viewers seem to appreciate.
“We are getting to be kind of a niche by keeping this place the way we are keeping it,” George said. “I think it’s so cool that now he can document all this stuff.”
Aaron uses a GoPro camera to film the videos. He has a custom-built tripod with a magnet that he uses to mount the camera to the fenders of tractors, on top of balers, on barn walls or wherever else the action might be taking place.
When Aaron first started, he shared one video every other week. Once the channel garnered a larger audience, he increased the posts to twice a week. He now shares three videos a week. Each video is between 10 and 20 minutes long. While he is getting faster at editing them, Aaron said initially it took about an hour of editing for every 2-3 minutes of video.
“I’ve learned by looking up tutorial videos or just trying it out myself,” Aaron said. “I never took any classes for this in high school.”
All of the efforts have created a community of followers on the social media channel. The demographic is mostly people aged 55 and older, but Aaron has started to see a shift with the addition of younger subscribers. Aaron said he has learned from the comments people leave on the videos.
“I think our community has been super positive,” Aaron said. “There is a wealth of knowledge, especially with an older audience.”
When Aaron bought a John Deere planter, he posted a video about it and asked if any viewers had advice for how to operate and maintain the equipment, because his dad had always used an International planter in the past. Aaron said people were quick to share their experiences, and three different people mailed literature to the channel’s registered post office box.
“One guy was a mechanic who did a lot of custom planting and sent a whole notepad of information,” Aaron said. “The neat thing was this old guy wanting to pass on his knowledge to this younger guy.”
Aaron used to try to respond to every comment on the videos, but as their list of subscribers has grown, it has not remained possible. The father and son duo occasionally post a Q&A video where they try to respond to questions asked in the comments. Other times, they will begin a new video by answering a couple questions from other posts.
Most of the videos are of daily chores and other projects that are normal for the Gieroks like cutting firewood or machinery maintenance but may be interesting to someone who does not live the lifestyle of a small dairy farmer.
“What I’m learning with social media is the simpler the better,” Aaron said. “To us, it seems really monotonous like feeding cows again, but to a viewer, it can be a totally different video than the last one.”
Between doing the work to film the videos and then going through the editing process, Aaron said he is happy with the return he gets from his efforts.
“I’m not investing a crazy amount of money or anything; it’s mainly just time,” Aaron said. “It’s allowed us to create a history book in a way.”    


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