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Political Mercury

A Nice Guy toast to farmers

2/4/2015

Iowa Nice Guy and Mount Carmel native Scott Siepker, who blends satire and passion for rural Iowa on social media, has delivered something of a video love letter to agriculture with his with his filmmaking team’s latest release — “Farmer Nice.”

“Your food doesn’t start with the factory or the Keebler elves. It starts with farming. Your body requires 1,400 pounds of food per year. How much of that do you want to grow yourself?” — Iowa Nice Guy Scott Siepker

“Your food doesn’t start with the factory or the Keebler elves. It starts with farming. Your body requires 1,400 pounds of food per year. How much of that do you want to grow yourself?”
— Iowa Nice Guy Scott Siepker

Now up on YouTube, and going viral with close to 30,000 views, “Farmer Nice” portrays farmers as technological savvy innovators who are not only feeding the world but also growing crucial ingredients for a wide range of products.

“It’s one of those videos that I think will continue to roll down the hill and snowball,” Siepker said in a phone interview.

Fans of the video from South Carolina and Georgia, as well as the Midwest, already have contacted him.

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Siepker, 32, an adjunct professor of drama at Drake University, jumped into the national spotlight during the 2012 presidential race with “Iowa Nice,” his snarky defense of all things Iowa (with 1.2 million views on the uncensored YouTube version alone).

The Iowa Nice Guy character he created has since appeared on ESPN and opened doors to continued speaking engagements for Siepker around Iowa and beyond.

As a rural Iowa native, Siepker, whose grandmother, Mary Lou Schultes, spent most her life on a farm between Dedham and Willey, appreciates farming, has it in his blood.

But, Siepker said, he’s smart enough to know what he doesn’t know about agriculture — and that’s the case with most Americans who aren’t directly engaged in farming.

“We wanted to say, ‘Thank you’ on our own,” he said of Iowa Filmmakers, his creative Des Moines-based organization.

The Iowa Farm Bureau underwrote the 2-minute video.

“While you’re using your iPad to play Farmville, farmers are using their iPad to work smarter,” Siepker says on the video in one farm location, with a drone hovering over his right shoulder.

Later in the video, sitting in his trademark fireside chair, opining on life with a jab at urban elites here, a poke at stereotypes there, Siepker reels through products tied to farms, from buttons to makeup to tires to car wax to pharmaceuticals to the crayons a production assistant throws into his lap as he talks.

“Raise a glass to farmers, they deserve it,” Siepker says in the video.

Next up for Siepker: an appearance on Iowa Public Radio Wednesday at 10 a.m. during which time he’ll speak about agricultural literacy, what the general public gets and what it doesn’t about American agriculture.

And beyond that, look for the Iowa Nice Guy to show up with presidential candidates, both Republican and Democrat, as campaigns for the Iowa Caucuses have started. CV

 

Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa newspaperman who resides in Carroll. He and his family own and publish newspapers in Carroll, Jefferson and other neighboring communities.

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