|His love for farming is projected on this Youtube channel Variety Farmer, which he hopes will help farming become more familiar to the public. Photo provided by Oh Chang-eon.
2016 Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs statistics show that the number of millennials under 30 taking jobs in agriculture has been increasing for the last three years. The population under 30 compose nearly half the total of 496,048 people who have moved to rural areas last year.
The younger generation’s growing interest in farming and moving to rural areas can be seen in Young Farming Food booth of 2017 COEX Food Week, which was held from Oct. 25 to 28. Several young farmers participated with their signature products, such as rice cakes made with Korean beeswax, and Doctor Farmer, a farming lab that created plant growing kits of flowers and vegetables.
“I heard that the agriculture sector is a rising blue ocean for the young generation, compared to other typically competitive fields,” said Baek Seo-yeon, a sophomore at Chung-Ang University. “With unique ideas and products, I think returning to farming is also a prospective. Also, now with the government providing financial and managerial support, it is easier for the young generation to start farming and move to rural areas.”
In addition to the virtue of hard work, these young farmers are also bringing to the business the science and commercialization of profit enhancement. Oh Chang-eon, the Youtube creator who is known to be the pioneer of agriculture broadcasting is currently running the Variety Farmer channel in Youtube. With over 16,000 subscribers in love with his wit and active energy, Oh posts videos of his daily life in nature, and farming techniques as a farmer in Inje, Gangwon Province.
“Some people consider farming as hard and menial although most of the vegetables and fruits they eat are produced by agriculture,” Oh said. “To help them realize how essential agriculture is in our life, and to make agriculture more familiar to the public, I decided to upload my daily farming life via Youtube for people to watch.”
Oh has posted 38 videos which includes informational content such as weeding out corns and sowing seeds, but there are also casual videos of him enjoying nature, possibly fishing at a valley with a twig. One of his videos which introduces how to deal with trucks stuck in mud, a common occurance in rural areas went viral with over 112,000 views.
As a young farmer, Oh wishes people to pay more attention to agriculture so they become smart consumers who could consider much more of what they eat.
However, as being farmer and Youtube creator at the same time, he also had to deal with difficulties.
“Running Variety Farmer is not much different from running other Youtube channels,” Oh said. “But it was hard to manage both my farming and video-making, especially since I had to do it all by myself from filming to editing. Also I had to consider how to make the content interesting to the public with the theme of agriculture.”
Oh left one last comment with Ewha Voice, on the increasing interest of farming among the younger generation.
“There are actually only a small number of people who succeed in implementing their ideas, since it requires both financial support and originality,” he said. “One should think quite carefully before choosing this as a profession.”