RANDOLPH CENTER — “Show, don’t tell,” is an old rule that applies to writing, but as 14-year-old farmer John Lincoln demonstrates on his YouTube channel, it works for farming as well.
“One thing I thought helped was being able to take a GoPro and attach it to an implement so you can see how it’s working and what it’s doing, instead of just saying what it does,” Lincoln said on Friday. “It’s better to see something than just hear about it. That worked well as a way to improve.”
Lincoln has spent his life on the Lincoln Farm, a 50 or so acre operation on East Bethel Road. He said they grow sweet corn, pumpkins, squash, hay and field corn.
“I pick sweet corn everyday for the farm stand, I do a lot of the field work, the cropping and stuff like that, working in the garage on the equipment,” he said, adding that he’s always done something on the farm even if it was just riding around on a tractor with his father, Sam Lincoln.
He shot his first farm video for YouTube a year ago, but had always wanted to do it.
“It was just something fun to do. I don’t plan to make a living off it,” he said.
His channel can be found at bit.ly/0904JohnL. Lincoln said he had been getting about 50 views for each video but after the family Facebook page, bit.ly/0904Family, shared his “Our First No-Till Corn!” video he’s been seeing views in the 250 range.
The video shows Lincoln driving a piece of farm equipment and talking about what he’s doing, but also shows the machine in action from different angles.
“A conventional corn planter, you plow the ground, there’s prepping, you smooth it out or whatever. ... There’s the possibility of erosion, the soil has been fluffed up and hard rains can wash out soil, and no-till it basically keeps the ground together,” he said.
In his videos, Lincoln talks about what’s happening on the farm, makes wisecracks about his family members and explains to people how things work from machines to the effect of local weather on crops.
John has an older brother, Matt, who works full-time on another farm and is rarely in John’s videos. It was Matt who broke the ice for the Lincoln Farm with regards to social media, but John took things further.
“The boys have been raised here on the idea of doing things well and presenting a positive face to the public of the farm and ag practices,” said Sam Lincoln.
Ashley Lincoln said they’ve been on the farm for the past 16 years, and her husband grew up on the dairy farm down the road. The boys have been ambassadors of sorts for the farm for much of their lives, interacting with visitors at the farm stand where they sell the crops they grow.
John will be a freshman at Randolph Union High School this year. He said it’s too early to tell exactly what he’ll do once he’s finished school, but he knows he wants to be involved in agriculture on some level, though probably not in Vermont.
“Part of the reason is, Vermont has become … instead of a full=farming state like it used to be, a lot of people aren’t familiar with it,” he said. “There’s a lot of people not really accepting it. I wouldn’t say they don’t believe in farming, but don’t believe in some of the practices. and I think in other places there’s not that kind of feedback against farming and agriculture.”
If his YouTube channel rises in popularity, he hopes it will help more people understand what happens on a farm and why.
“I don’t think it will gain enough traction to be anything more than that, but if it does gain traction I can reach out to more people and maybe change perceptions,” he said.