Farmer uses Tik Tok fame to help bridge rural-city divide

 

A VICTORIAN farmer who unexpectedly became Tik Tok famous for his funny on-farm videos is using his new platform to bridge the rural-city divide, dispelling agriculture myths and inspiring young people to get into the industry.

Peter Vallance, who works on his family farm at Ouyen in Victoria's Mallee region, has reached millions of people worldwide on the video sharing platform - with one video alone racking up five million views.

Mr Vallance, 29, said he started filming the videos as a way to create and save some memories with his cattle dog Spud, who is 14 years old.

"It just sort of grew because there was a bit of farming in the background and people started asking questions. Then I started joking around and having a bit of fun and it really took off," he said.

"I never really told family and friends about it and mum came home from town one day and said 'what's this? I hear you're Tik Tok famous'."

Mr Vallance said it was also an opportunity to have a laugh among the challenges farmers were facing, with the Mallee struggling through drought.

"Those moments in life it can go one of two ways, where you either laugh or you cry," he said.

"It was sort of a way to deal with those moments and not lose your cool and take it out on someone that doesn't really deserve it. I thought I'd just have a laugh over the other option."

While Spud and six-month-old Kelpie Pip have attracted quite the attention staring in Mr Vallance's videos, it's Patrick the Alpaca who has stolen the show.

Mr Vallance's most popular videos are of him yelling at Patrick - who is actually girl - for not doing her job of looking after the farm's goats and instead creeping up on Mr Vallance, stealing feed or harassing the sheep.

Among the funny videos, Mr Vallance documents farm life.

"I was really surprised the number of young people getting in touch with me saying 'I want to get into farming' or 'I want to get into agriculture, what advice can you give me?' "

"That was a really cool moment for me because I want nothing more than more young people to get into agriculture.

"If I can maybe influence a few young people to think 'I should look at agriculture and what it can offer me', I think that's a really cool thing."

Mr Vallance said he had reached a lot of people with no connection to agriculture and not just Australians, but from the US, UK and Ireland, because farming "here is so much different to what they do there".

"I've been able to dispel a few myths and things like that which has been really good," he said.

"There was a couple of people asking about crop steroids and things like that, that just aren't true and I was able to talk to those people and give them a bit of piece of mind."

With nearly 500 videos under his belt and no plans on stopping, Mr Vallance says he wants to continue educating people about agriculture and showing what the Mallee has to offer.

"The Mallee is one of the great underrated places in Victoria so if I can bring a bit of the beauty of the Mallee to other people it would be good to get some more people up here," he said.