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Laura Wilson uses social media to help the public see the daily reality of farm life and irrigation.
A portrait of Laura Wilson with the words "Like and subscribe" over the top.
(Photo: Laura Wilson)

Among the 44,300 farms in the state of Nebraska is Laura Farms.

At first glance, it might seem like another ordinary operation set amongst the plains of south-central Nebraska. Its some-odd 25 center pivots of varying lengths rotate through the fields providing the essential liquid lifeblood of the farm.

But, like so many growers, the people who work the farm are anything but ordinary.

“I farm in south-central Nebraska with my husband and we farm 100% irrigated acres,” Laura Wilson, co-owner and operator of Laura Farms, says. “Everything that we farm is pivot-irrigated and we farm soybeans and commercial corn.”

What sets Wilson and her husband, Grant, apart is not just their age — though in their early 20s they are more than 30 years younger than the average farmer in the state — but their approach to everything they do, from farming to how they run their everyday life.

“My dad is a farmer, and my grandpa is a farmer and all that,” Wilson says. “So I am a fifth-generation farmer, and my husband Grant is a sixth-generation farmer. He started farming, I believe, when he was 17. I started renting ground from my dad in 2020, and that’s when I launched my YouTube channel.”

Irrigation influencer

Therein lies the real secret behind the rows of soybeans and corn.

Wilson says the original intention of the channel was mainly to provide updates to her family on what was happening on the farm during the height of the pandemic. What happened next was a little more exciting than that.

“It just skyrocketed and took off,” she says.

Now, more than 420,000 subscribers later, Wilson’s YouTube channel is a sensation.

“I was not expecting that at all, but I’m really happy with where it’s led me. I mean, I wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s incredible,” Wilson says.

“Even though I did grow up on a farm, I wasn’t as involved as I could have been. So, I’m still learning. I learn every single day about the farming operation,” she says. “Obviously, I’ll be learning about farming every single day for the rest of my life, but when I’m able to explain what I’m doing to an audience who really doesn’t know what’s going on, I feel like it’s helping cement in my mind what I’m doing.”

The content the Wilsons are producing is a reflection of life on their farm, their everyday lives, and even glimpses into their community. The channel is populated with videos like “The Million Dollar Machine,” in which Wilson demos massive, pricey tractors decked out with the latest ag-tech.

What’s the view count for that video? 2,654,828.

Wilson’s videos don’t just cover the crops or the machinery used, but they also cover topics like center pivot maintenance and how their farm interacts with water. For some viewers, it might be their first experience of actually seeing irrigation applied in a real setting.

Building a following

Wilson does not let the popularity go to her head. She says that her work influencing goes hand-in-hand with her work on the farm, with both requiring a go-getter attitude and the ability to constantly learn new things and adjust.

“It’s really unique because farming is a job with no set hours. It’s not a nine-to-five, it’s not a Monday through Friday thing,” she says. “Farming could take as many hours out of your day or as little out of the hours out of the day as you give it. You know, you could work 24 hours a day, every single day of the week, every single day of the year. The farm demands all from you.”

Farm life isn’t for everyone, Wilson says, adding that many of her friends are spending time living in other places and have flexibility that they simply don’t have. The Wilsons are tied to the land but that doesn’t stop them from enjoying many of the same activities that their peers enjoy.

“I wake up at five and go to a workout class. I’m huge on physical activity, which is another reason why I think I’m a good farmer because I’m ‘go, go, go,’” Wilson says. “I come home and I shower and I’m still a wife so then I usually do dishes, laundry, vacuum, house cleanup-type of things, or unpacking from trips. Grant and I travel a lot usually on just quick weekend excursions. But we live out of suitcases just as much as we live out of our own home.”

What sets Wilson and her husband, Grant, apart is not just their age — though in their early 20s, they are more than 30 years younger than the average farmer in the state — but their approach to everything they do, from farming to how they run their everyday life.

The work the couple are doing online is a very real and functional business. The success of the channel and other social media platforms have given them the opportunity to pursue farm ownership at an earlier age than most, Wilson says.

“This year will be Grant and I’s first year of farming together on our own acres. We bought a tractor together, and so we’ve starting farming for ourselves, which is really exciting,” she says. “Our parents obviously gave us an incredible opportunity themselves being farmers, but now we’re farming together, which is really cool.”

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 99th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum that 90% of farmers are having to work outside of their direct-farming activities to support themselves financially, and the Wilsons illustrate a unique and complimentary way to support their farm through the business of their social media.

Wilson says that the focus for the content she is putting out is to inspire others and to make it clear that farming is a vibrant, exciting and accessible line of work.

“If I can just inspire anybody to do anything, that’s kind of always been the goal,” she says. “I had a little girl write me a letter the other day — she was maybe like nine or 10 years old — saying how much she loved watching my videos. I cried. I mean, what in the world? That’s precious.”

Looking toward the future, Wilson plans on continuing to put content out into the world and has the ambitious goal of reaching 1 million subscribers on YouTube. She adds that the path they have gone down to reach this point isn’t exactly what they expected.

“Grant and I’s kind of motto ever since we’ve known each other is ‘every day is something new,’” Wilson says. “Every night when we go to bed, we’re like, ‘wow, every day really is something new.’ We just kind of laugh to ourselves, like, ‘I did not think we would end up here.’”

Find Laura Wilson’s channel by searching for Laura Farms on Youtube.
Luke Reynolds is the content editor for Irrigation Today and can be reached via email.



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