Sharing their story one video at a time

Begert family promotes agriculture via YouTube

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NEILLSVILLE, Wis. – In the evenings after finishing chores and homework, Jaron and Abigail Begert enjoyed watching farming videos on YouTube with their dad, Brian Begert. Those evenings inspired an adventure of creating their own videos to share the story of their family farm with the world.
“Jaron enjoyed the videos we watched so much he wanted to try doing it,” Brian said. “We decided to try it and share the story of our own family dairy farm.”
Over the past year and a half, the Begert family has published more than 60 videos on their Echowood Holsteins YouTube channel.
The Begerts, along with Brian’s parents, Dennis and Cindy, milk 600 registered Holsteins on their Clark County dairy farm near Neillsville.
“We just try and do videos of everyday stuff on the farm,” Brian said. “It might seem mundane or uninteresting to us, but to the public who has no farm experience, it can be very educating. We have found that people really like the videos with cow stuff in it. Those seem to be the most popular.”
Some of their videos have featured making first crop hay, injecting manure, routine maintenance and repairs around the farm, caring for hospital cows, herd classification, calf care and milking in the parlor.
Jaron tracks their progress with the public.
“Lots of people liked the video we did about milking, and it is one of my favorites,” Jaron said. “That got a lot of really good comments. It had over 3,500 views on our YouTube channel.”
Besides making the milking parlor video, one of the Begerts’ favorite videos was recorded during a day they tackled the project of putting activity collars on first-lactation heifers. Brian said it captured a real day of work.
“I really enjoyed that video because both Jaron and Abigail were very involved with the work of the day,” Brian said. “Abigail actually lost her tooth that day, and the video editor put it in the video like a newsflash with a breaking news graphic.”
Another unique video was recorded the night Brian and Jaron slept in a calf hutch during a snowstorm in December 2021.
“We were bedding calf hutches before a storm and were talking about how nice and warm they were,” Jaron said. “I said we could almost sleep in them, so we did.”
The decision about what subjects to cover does not always come easy. Brian said there have been times he has been indecisive about certain material.
“Recently, we had a difficult calving; we actually thought we might need to do a C-section,” Brian said. “The calf’s head was turned back. The vet had to give an epidural. We lost the calf. I have not decided yet if I want to go ahead with that.”
The videos produced by the Begert family are not quick 30-second videos filmed with a cell phone. Similar to how they operate their farm, they invest the time and effort into making a quality product for their digital followers.
The Begerts use a GoPro Hero 9 camera to film the videos. Right now, they only have one camera, but they have entertained the idea of getting a second camera to make it easier to have different angles and points of view.
“The videos really happen naturally,” Brian said. “We just film what happens throughout the day. We might make a list of things we want to cover or explain, but nothing is scripted out.”
Once the footage is filmed, the Begerts work with a professional video editor based out of nearby Marshfield who pares down a day’s worth of footage to the final product that is typically 10 to 20 minutes long, depending on the subject matter. The editor also adds relevant graphics and text to the videos.
Jaron said the production process condenses the footage they have.
“The videos use maybe 20% of the raw footage,” Jaron said. “A 20-minute video probably has over 100-minutes of video that we have taken.”
While some might fear putting their farm in the public spotlight, Brian Begert said they have not found themselves in any negative situations because of a social media presence.
“The response we have gotten has been great,” Brian said. “The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. People either comment about their own farming experiences or ask very good and engaging questions. The comments and feedback help us know what kinds of things people want to see.”
Many followers have commented on the technology and cleanliness of the farm, Brian said.
“People have commented about how well we take care of our cows,” Brian said. “That has been great to get that positive feedback. We appreciate hearing what kinds of content people would like to see.”
Once they created the Echowood Holsteins YouTube channel, the Begerts have let the channel grow and gain followers organically, opting not to use advertisements to promote or increase exposure for their videos.
“I wish we could do more videos, but with all the work that goes into making and producing them, they’re aren’t something you can do every day,” Brian said. “They have been a great experience for us as a family to share the story of our farm in a positive way.”

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