Dairy Farm Tech Grabs Gamers’ Attention | U.S. Dairy

Dairy Farm Tech Grabs Gamers’ Attention

  • Article
  • December 10, 2020

Connecticut dairy farmer Amanda Freund had no idea who “Mr. Beast” is.

That’s understandable as she stays plenty focused on her family’s dairy farm, but she also isn’t part of Mr. Beast’s target audience. That would be mostly Gen Z, the 55 million strong generation born between 1997 and 2012.

To many of them, Mr. Beast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, is somewhat of an icon as one of the world’s top Minecraft gamers. He has more than 71 million followers who tune into his every move on his gaming platform and through his YouTube videos.

Mr. Beast and three other gamers like him have been introduced to the dairy farmers through Undeniably Dairy to help share dairy’s environmental sustainability story to the next generation.  The four gamers have a collective reach of more than 120 million followers. In addition to Mr. Beast, Undeniably Dairy is working with Brianna Arsement-Barnhart,  Preston Arsement (known professionally as YouTube’s BriannaPlayz and PrestonPlayz) and Matt Smith.

Just like players immerse themselves in their gaming world, three dairy farmers immersed them into their worlds – one with new technologies developed on the path to sustainability, intricate family dynamics and a whole lot of cows (plus poop!). What came out of it was an appreciation on both sides for each other’s worlds. 

Freund led Donaldson around her farm and explained to him about how they care for cows and even showed the process of how they turn manure into biodegradable pots that can be planted, all via her cell phone. Mr. Beast was so impressed that he took back what he learned to his fans and even offered them$50,000 of his own money to the person who built the best virtual farm.

“I sensed a genuine sincerity and interest as I virtually walked him around our dairy,” Freund said. “He was incredibly engaged with every step. Things we as farmers take for granted – such as our cows producing 75 pounds of milk a day – blew him away.

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Connecticut dairy farmer Amanda Freund gives Jimmy Donaldson, a.k.a. Mr. Beast, a virtual tour of the technology she uses every day to take care of her cows.

“Not surprisingly, he loves technology and was very interested in our robotic milkers and how they function. He also enjoyed seeing the waterbeds our cows lie on.”

Lindsey Rucks, a fifth-generation Florida dairy farmer, had a similar experience when she toured with BriannaPlayz. Rucks found a surprising connection to Arsement-Barnhart, whose grandfather was a dairy farmer.

“While she had never seen her grandfather’s farm as it closed before she was born, it kind of blew her mind when she saw how many practices we have on the farm and how well we take care of our cows,” Rucks said. “She was a little bit in awe. You could see it in her eyes.”

Rucks said Arsement-Barnhart was especially interested in how the farm recycles water and seeing the calf barn where the dairy’s future generation is cared for. Rucks even told Arsement-Barnhart she would name a calf after her. The two agreed to stay in touch, with Rucks promising to send updates about Brianna the calf.

“I think this connection is going to be a great thing for the dairy industry and all of agriculture to help get our story out to this generation,” Rucks said.

Freund agrees and said while she initially knew nothing about the gaming community and its influence, she now sees things much differently.

“When the tour ended, I felt Mr. Beast was enlightened by how farmers use technology and innovate and how we care for the land and animals,” she said. “And I was equally educated about him and the power he holds as a third-party messenger of our story. Our visit further energized my passion for this project and I’m grateful to have connected with such an important voice and to represent our industry.”