Tyson Kucheruk never expected to be internet famous when he started his YouTube channel in 2006.
“Back then, it was pretty much just for fun — take a video, upload it, that was pretty much it,” said the High Prairie producer known as Northern Farmer on the popular video-sharing site.
“But later on, we gained a few more subscribers as we were doing a lot more explaining about our operation, and it kind of took off from there.”
Today, Kucheruk has nearly 30,000 subscribers and nine million video views from people from around the world who are curious about the day-to-day life on a mixed operation in Alberta.
“It’s been really positive. People just want more. They can’t get enough,” he said. “They’re interested in how we do things up here. That’s one of the main things I’ve found.”
While his viewers are mainly other farmers — mostly from the States — urban audiences have also been drawn to his videos about living and working on the farm.
“I get a lot of comments like, ‘I’m not a farmer, but I love watching this sort of thing,’” he said, adding it’s been a great way to bridge the gap between urban and rural communities.
“I find that there’s a lot of misinformation about farming out there, and I want to get away from all of that. If I can get through to some people, I think that’s great.”
Kucheruk has posted more than 600 videos and they routinely attract 10,000 to 30,000 views.
But others will be watched hundreds of thousands of times. And there’s no question about who are the stars in these hit episodes.
“My big D8 dozer cat videos seem to be the most popular. The next most popular would probably be my videos of older farm equipment, like my old 1986 4694 CASE IH four-wheel-drive tractor. That one’s very popular with my viewers.”
For Kucheruk, the success of his channel over the past few years has been a bit of a trip.
“That wasn’t in the plans for me. It just sort of happened. And now I’m doing media interviews and meeting new people all the time.”
And while he hasn’t reached the level of internet stardom of other YouTube influencers, he has been able to make a little money on his videos and even has some diehard fans.
“If I’m away from YouTube for a little bit, I’ll get messages saying, ‘When’s the next video?’” he said with a laugh. “Right now, it’s the slow time because all I’m doing is calving, but soon spring is coming up, and there will be lots of new projects then.”
Filming these videos with his phone, GoPro, and drone has given Kucheruk a different perspective of his operation. For him, it’s been a way to deepen his understanding of what he does and why he does it.
And for other farmers who are interested in sharing their stories on YouTube, his advice is simple: “Don’t give up.”
“It can be hard, and it might seem like you’re not getting anywhere at first, but keep going. Eventually it will come.”
You can check out Kucheruk’s videos on his YouTube channel.