By Lauren Moore, FSA Public Affairs Specialist
Ryan Kuster uploaded his first video to his YouTube channel, “How Farms Work,” in June of 2008. The video, about chopping hay, raked in over 20,000 views.
“It wasn’t supposed to be anything serious. At the time, there weren’t many videos about farming on YouTube,” said Ryan.
The videos on the YouTube channel take place on his family’s beef and crop operation, Kuster Farms, in Grant County’s Potosi, Wisconsin. “How Farms Work” currently has over 110,000 subscribers.
The purpose of the channel is to educate viewers about life on their Midwest farm. It covers day-to-day tasks, such as equipment operation, and shares farming strategies. Ryan hosted his first “Farm Day” in August to give his audience an opportunity to see the farm and equipment in person.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there about agriculture and I want to remove the stigma,” said Ryan. “I want people to know that farmers aren’t the bad guys. We are trying to provide food for the world.”
Ryan continued to work on the farm while he attended the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, majoring in agribusiness. Since graduating, he continues to help run operations at Kuster Farms, along with his dad, Dwight, his mom, Beth, and brother, Travis. In addition to the work they do at Kuster Farms, Ryan and Travis are working on an operation of their own.
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers direct farm operating microloans through FSA Farm Loan Programs. Direct farm operating loans are a resource for farmers and ranchers to start, maintain and strengthen their operations.
“FSA’s operating loans can keep a farming operation running during the low and high times that there are with farming,” said Ryan. “It has helped me take out a large amount to operate, which I never could have done alone.”
When his parents retire, Ryan and Travis plan to take over operations at Kuster Farms. He wants to continue sharing his farm with the world.
“As far as FSA helping me with my success, I’d say FSA has been very helpful due to the low interest rates and how well my lender has worked with me,” said Ryan. “Without FSA, it can be more difficult trying to negotiate a loan and explain how you’ll pay it off to someone who may not have any experience with farming.”
FSA offers a variety of loan options to producers, including farm ownership loans, guaranteed loans, youth loans and more.