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Culture

Farmer uses drone to capture bird's-eye view of 'cow art'

What can you do with a feed truck, a drone and a herd of cattle? A rancher who is famous for serenading his cows will tell you.

Cow art
A Kansas rancher is pioneering the field of cow art. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Derek Klingenberg may be the most famous farmer in America. The Kansas cattle rancher has racked up millions of YouTube views with videos ranging from a "What Does the Fox Say?" parody to a video of cow-twerking. He's now taken to the air for his latest creation, sending a camera-toting drone skyward as he uses a feed truck to herd his cattle into artful arrangements on the range.

The video has two parts that happen simultaneously. The main image is from a drone hovering above the field. The inset image is of Klingenberg in his feed truck, driving around as the cows follow him about. The strategic placement of food helps the farmer move the cows where he wants them so they form a smiley face when seen from the air.

Watching from above as the cattle "swish" around like fish is a fun visual. The video takes nearly nine minutes, which shows just how complicated art-making can be when cattle feed is your "paintbrush" and cows are the "paint." At one point, the eyes of the face have to be redone because the cows quickly chowed through the strategically placed nosh. It takes some vocal encouragement and fancy feed-truck driving to get the cows to line up in the right places.

Klingenberg may be best known for a video of him playing Lorde's "Royals" on a trombone out in the middle of a field, an activity that attracts his cows from afar. That video alone has topped 8 million views. This cow-art video has a long way to go to beat that, but it shows that Klingenberg is forever pushing the boundaries of his farm-based art.