Carson Kahler goes live from the tractor cab to a watching world
One young Minnesota farmer uses YouTube as a way to give his worldwide audience an inside look at day-to-day life on the farm.
DUNNELL, Minn. — Many of us spend countless hours scrolling through social media, watching videos and posts become viral overnight. One young Minnesota farmer is using YouTube as a resource to give his worldwide audience a real-time look at life on the farm.
There’s not one, not two, but three small cameras inside the tractor cab at Carson Kahler’s farm in Dunnell, Minnesota. What started as a way to document his farm drone videos for his future children to watch has grown into something bigger than he imagined.
“I continued to do drone videos for a couple more years, and then I hit a thousand subscribers and I kind of thought to myself, I am really limited with just doing drone videos, because you can only make three or four a year,” said Carson Kahler, owner of 6th Gen Farmer. “So, I decided, with no prior experience or knowledge or want, I just picked up a camera and started videotaping myself at the farm.”
Now, the 6th Gen Farmer YouTube channel has over 19,000 subscribers who all get to follow along on the adventures of this young farmer.
“The content I put out is just genuine farming stuff,” Kahler said. “I try to make it as educational as I possibly can. So, it doesn’t matter if I am sweeping out a grain bin or if we had some flooding around our grain set up, or if I am in a tractor planting or harvesting or running the grain cart — just whatever I happen to be doing at that time I try to film just to try to make it as genuine as I possibly can.”
This year, Kahler decided to try something new and livestream from inside the tractor cab on the first day of planting season.
“I just thought, it can’t get any more genuine than live because you can’t hide anything, you know, you can’t edit anything out,” Kahler said. “This is a new planter to us and on the first time we went to the field with it, I was like, I am going to livestream it and I am going to show everybody the sort of problems that you can have going to the field especially with a new piece of equipment.”
Even though everything went smooth with planting that day, he was able to give his audience a real-time look at what planting consists of and engage in conversation.
“It was just a lot of fun to see the interaction, to see those comments live and to have that real-time connect with my audience,” Kahler said.
Kahler graduated from South Dakota State University in December and is now back on his family farm full time. He plans to continue to create multiple videos per week, as well as utilize more livestream content.
“Right now, I have kind of been focused on planting because that’s what’s going on, but I could see a lot of, you know, I am fixing something in the shop, livestream it, let people see that process in real time, maybe do some Q and As that are live,” Kahler said. “I want to keep doing the more genuine stuff, not just the big items.”
Kahler has developed a worldwide following, with 25% of his viewers coming from outside of the United States.
“Seeing people like, ‘Hey I’m from Germany, we do it this way over here, why do you do it like that?’ and I can say, ‘Yeah, here’s the reason we do it like this,’ and then lots of times I like to ask them the question, you know, ‘How do you guys do it?’ or ‘Why do you do it like that?’” Kahler said. “Just being able to build that community and share what we do is really important because, especially if I am talking to somebody else who has a farming background and we have a discussion, anyone can read that discussion through the comment section.”
But, farming and filming can be a lot to juggle.
“When I have the camera in hand, I am definitely not as efficient or productive as I could be if I didn’t have it in hand. I often take days where I am not going to film anything today, and I am just going to get stuff done and that’s a good break every once in a while,” Kahler said. “But with the technology now-a-days, I mean my camera can literally fit in the pocket of my sweatshirt, so it’s a lot easier than it used to be maybe 10 years ago if you wanted to do something like this.”
Kahler and his pocket-sized cameras are educating people around the world, from farm to screen.
“It’s really cool when you’re reading through the comments of a video or a livestream, whatever, and there’s people that say, ‘Hey, I am from the city,’ or ‘I’ve never been to a farm,’ or ‘I have limited experience on a farm, can you explain to me why you are doing this?’ Those are my favorite comments and those are the ones I answer first, because it’s so important to me to give those guys a reason and an understanding of why we do what we do,” Kahler said.
Find videos from the 6th Gen Farmer at https://www.youtube.com/@6thGenFarmer/about.