YouTube star WT Farm Girl says being a first-generation farmer isn’t easy. But with trial and error, it’s paying off in an unexpected way.
Suzanne Cook, 37, decided to start a farm six years ago with her boyfriend, Erik Zandstra, in Michigan. She said it’s been quite the ride — and she didn't expect to become a YouTube star in the process.
Cook thought people might be interested in seeing her and Zandstra document their struggles as inexperienced farmers while raising four children. With her boyfriend having a full-time job, Cook had to take on much of the responsibility in the field.
"As a mom, you are under twice the stress of a male farmer. You don't have someone cooking you a hot dinner and bringing it to you on the tractor," Cook said. "You are the one stopping your work, running home to cook the family dinner, then running back to the tractor to finish your work."
While she initially wanted to write a memoir about the struggles, publishers weren’t interested in the idea.
“All the publishers told me there is no market for anything agriculture related,” Cook told InsideEdition.com.
So she took to YouTube instead.
“I thought why not turn this into a video episode and showcase all of life out here in a video format and just see if people will find it interesting," she added.
While there was a bit of a learning curve figuring out what content to put out, Cook said she eventually got the hang of it.
“The first couple of videos I did were cutting hay on the tractor, driving down the road. I added little bits of music in there,” Cook said.
Because Cook and Zandstra were novices at farming, Cook said she often documents just how they manage everyday life on the farm.
“We had no knowledge on how to do anything. We didn’t have all the right equipment, all the right tools,” Cook said. “My channel is just an account of whatever is happening at that time.”
Today, Cook has more than 40,000 followers on her channel.
“It’s a community and that’s what a lot of YouTube is. People to talk to people to engage with,” Cook said. “They tell you how their crops are doing and for me personally, getting feedback on how to solve issues out here has been fantastic because we are first-generation farmers.”
She said while she and her boyfriend are still working on making their farming business lucrative, producing hay and maple syrup, YouTube has been a great way to make ends meet.
“YouTube has been fantastic for me to earn basically a part-time job making videos, and farming, and taking care of the kids, all in one shot,” Cook said.