Henry Ford once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” In Ford’s day the idea of lifelong learning largely revolved around libraries and night classes. In our time we have many options for giving our aging brains a workout. Even on the farm and far from traditional learning centers, the Internet provides opportunities for us to access a wealth of knowledge to better ourselves, train our employees, educate our children, or just have fun.
Youtube is the number one source for informational and educational videos (in addition to a lot of videos with kittens). Youtube is the #3 most visited website after Google & Facebook. Some studies are showing that people age 18-35 are now watching more hours of Youtube each day than regular TV. Personally, I don’t watch TV anymore; I primarily watch Youtube videos related to my hobbies, like photography and music, on my iPad.
Youtube videos & channels range from 2-minute instructions on how to handle colostrum to Khan Academy’s math curriculum that teaches everything from 2 + 2 to Linear Algebra. Just about anything you can think of, someone has probably produced an instructional video for it. A few months ago a friend of mine changed the transmission in his 2005 Ford F150 after watching a how-to video on Youtube, and this is a guy with virtually no mechanical experience.
Another instance where Youtube saved the day was with my son. When he started kindergarten last year he could read at a third grade level and type about 20 words per minute. My wife and I were so proud of ourselves for raising such an exceptional little fella until we realized we never taught him to write with a pencil. Needless to say he struggled with writing until we discovered a set of instructional videos on Youtube called TinyGrads that helped us learn how to teach him to write.
We use Youtube on the farm to train new employees on safety protocols and proper milking procedures. We have a series of safety videos that we require all our employees to watch at least once a year. We still have group safety meetings a few times a year but we find our employees internalize the information better when watching a video alone or in a group of two or three.
Currently we are producing operating procedure videos for our farm on everything from how to start, drive, and service the push tractor, to changing liners, to tail chalk heat detection. We will upload these videos to our private Youtube channel and allow our employees to access them from our computers, their mobile devices, or at home.
I could fill this entire magazine with examples of educational videos on Youtube but what is important to know is that learning really is a lifelong process and Youtube really does make it easy and fun. And since “Laughter is good medicine”, Youtube can keep you healthy as well with plenty of things to laugh at (like kitten videos).
Youtube search tips:
Don’t ask questions like “how do I test my barn for stray voltage”, use only relevant keywords like “Dairy Barn Stray Voltage”. The more specific keywords you use, the better your results will be. Here are some examples of good dairy and farm related search terms.
[Dairy Safety Training]
[Calibrate spray rig]
[Apply cattle ear tags]
[National Dairy FARM Spanish]
[Corn growth stages]