In the heartland of West Central Minnesota, a family farm has not only flourished for generations, but has also found a new home on the digital landscape. Meet Chet Larson, the driving force behind Larson Farms, who boldly ventured into the world of digital content creation. Through their YouTube channel, also named Larson Farms, they have not only offered a glimpse into the world of modern agriculture and rural life, but have also made substantial strides in securing their financial success.

The Larson Farms: A Family Tradition since 1918

Larson Farms’ story begins with its roots firmly planted in the soil of a homestead dating back to 1918. For over a century, the Larson family has dedicated themselves to the practice of farming, specializing in the cultivation of corn and soybeans. What started as a modest venture has blossomed into a multi-generational agricultural legacy, yielding not only bountiful crops, but also substantial financial gains. In his late twenties, Chet Larson is the prominent figure behind Larson Farms, with his father Doug serving as the Chief Operating Officer, and his uncle, Randy, as the Chief Financial Officer. His grandfather is also still involved in some capacity.

The experience of working on a family farm

Chet Larson’s upbringing was closely tied to the farm. He received homeschooling, and every day around noon after completing his schoolwork, he would ride a go-kart for four miles to the farm to learn about farming. Chet officially began his farming journey at the age of 17 when he rented his first farm from a retiring neighbor.

For Chet, working on his family’s farm can be difficult, requiring a great deal of patience as each family member has a vested interest in its success. Chet values listening to various opinions, acknowledging that his own ideas may not always be the best. In their family, they’ve long recognized that the farm’s success comes from the collective wisdom of three or more minds. As a result, decision-making may sometimes be time-consuming, but they typically arrive at the best course of action when everyone actively participates.

When it comes to the actual farm work, what Chet appreciates most is the variety of tasks he gets to undertake. This diversity prevents burnout. Among these tasks, his favorite is combining, a critical step in harvesting grain crops like corn. Combining involves the use of a specialized machine known as a combine harvester, or simply a combine, which is designed to perform multiple functions in one pass, including cutting and threshing or separating the edible grain from the rest of the plant. While Chet doesn’t particularly enjoy equipment cleaning, he acknowledges it as part of the job. Being a self-proclaimed perfectionist, he takes his time with this process.

Farming is undeniably labor-intensive, yet Chet and his team make it a point to take weekends off, except during planting or harvesting seasons. Currently, the farm faces its most significant challenge in management decisions. Its scale has expanded to the point in which much of his time is dedicated to overseeing employees and ensuring equipment remains operational. Chet noted that his role has undergone a substantial transformation; he’s shifted from being the one behind the tractor wheel to ensuring that his team efficiently operates the tractors, and manages all aspects of the operation. His father, who used to serve as the farm mechanic, proudly mentioned that Chet, whom he had taught everything he knew, had also taken over this role.

A Digital Journey with Larson Farms

What makes Larson Farms truly unique is its presence on YouTube. Chet Larson, the charismatic face behind the channel, has opened doors to their world, providing an intimate look at the daily operations of Larson Farms. Whether it’s planting season, harvest time, or the myriad of tasks in between, viewers get a front-row seat to the challenges and triumphs of modern farming. With their channel aptly named “Larson Farms,” they’ve garnered a substantial following of close to 400,000 subscribers, and nearly 200 million views. The YouTube account was opened in 2010, but the oldest video, featuring an aerial view of the farm during winter with the grounds covered with snow, was posted in 2019.

As a naturally shy individual, Chet never thought of himself as someone who enjoyed entertaining people. However, that perception changed when he began posting videos on Instagram and Snapchat. People started telling him that his content made them laugh, and that he and his team were enjoyable to watch. This experience naturally led him to venture into YouTube, and he discovered the pleasure of documenting his daily life at the farm. He envisioned that, as he grows older, he could revisit these videos, reminiscing about the good times he had back in the day.

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Their target audience extends beyond just farmers; they aim to reach urban individuals who may not have a deep understanding of farming. Chet frequently receives messages and emails from people who confess that they aren’t connected to farming in any way, yet they find his channel captivating. The unexpected fame was something he never envisioned, but he understood that it’s part and parcel of being on social media. At farm shows, he is often recognized, and people approach him to strike up conversations. It seems that he’s no longer just ‘Chet the farmer.’ Clearly, things have changed, but he doesn’t view it as a complaint. Being on YouTube has been an incredible blessing for them.

For a time, he edited the videos himself but it was hard and time-consuming. He soon realized that continuing to do so would leave him with little time for anything else. That’s when he decided to hire an editor, which significantly eased his workload. With professional editing support, he could create more content, especially since their videos typically captured their day-to-day work on the farm. Realistically, he mentioned that it often required only about 10 minutes of filming each day, making it quite manageable. They maintained a consistent posting schedule, releasing three videos per week.

Nicole Larson, Chet’s first wife

Nicole Magdelyn Larson from Alexandria, MN, married Chet Larson on 24 January 2015. The following year, she established Larson Rustic Home Furnishings, as she poured her heart and soul into finding unique pieces to breathe new life into, turning rustic, old pieces into works of art.

In January 2020, she ventured into the digital world, launching her YouTube channel “Nicole’s Untold Gold,” and it quickly gained recognition, amassing more than 30,000 subscribers and over 2.5 million views. Through her videos, she generously shared her creative process, emphasizing that it wasn’t a tutorial but rather an intimate glimpse into her passion and craft. Her channel went beyond furniture projects, offering a window into her life. Viewers joined her on house projects with Chet, witnessing the transformation of different areas of their home. She also took on the role of video editing for Chet’s YouTube channel, “Larson Farms.” As a dedicated farmer’s wife, Nicole’s love extended to preparing lunches tirelessly throughout the week, year-round, to fuel the hardworking farm crew. She was joined in this endeavor by her mother-in-law.

Nicole’s courageous battle with cancer

In November 2020, Nicole’s life took a harrowing turn. In the dead of night, she awoke gripped by excruciating chest pain, leaving her struggling to draw a breath. Rushed to the emergency room, a CT scan unveiled a daunting nine-centimeter mass nestled between her esophagus and left lung. The diagnosis was devastating—myeloid sarcoma and the only treatment option left to her was inductive chemotherapy, a treatment seeking to obliterate cancer cells. To make matters worse, a dangerous buildup of fluid was compressing her left lung, necessitating immediate drainage.

After enduring a series of surgeries and radiation therapies, the monstrous mass began to shrink. However, in a cruel twist of fate, she was diagnosed with leukemia. Her white blood cell count soared to dangerous levels, and it was feared she would die of either a heart attack or a stroke. Her doctor delivered a grim prognosis—she only had two days to live, one month at the most. Nicole, however, clung to an unyielding determination, vowing to prove the doctor wrong, even if it meant living just one hour longer than predicted.

Nicole and her husband Chet, alongside their family, grappled with feelings of helplessness, but exhausting all efforts to seek life-saving treatment for her. The couple eventually had a conversation that felt all too surreal, as they were still too young. It was a dreaded moment for them as they talked about funeral arrangements and final wishes.

Persisting with her chemotherapy, Nicole saw her white blood cell count decrease, but it came at a cost—she became immunocompromised. To safeguard her, Chet had to live away from home due to his contact with many people, because he still had to take care of the family business, while her devoted mother stepped in, taking time off work to provide care. With each passing day and continued treatment, Nicole saw a glimmer of hope. Scans revealed the tumor’s disappearance, although she made it clear that she was not in remission.

She was grateful for the outpouring of prayers and messages she received. Nicole initiated a GoFundMe page to raise funds for her treatment, as her insurance covered only a fraction of the costs. Remarkably, over $116,000 was raised.

Her final YouTube video, posted on 15 May 2021, captured her unwavering spirit as she talked about overcoming the odds. Despite the return of her cancer cells, Nicole remained steadfast, placing her trust in God. It was a day that held profound significance, as she had already exceeded her expected lifespan by a day; it was the very day she recorded the video. In her poignant message, she wanted to emphasize how miracles come in different forms or ways and urges others not to dismiss significant events as mere coincidences. With resolve, she vowed to keep fighting and praying.

On 27 May 2021, at the age of 25, Nicole Larson passed away at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, ND. Chet explained that they believed they’d found the right chemotherapy drugs, and they were indeed effective. However, an unfortunate consequence was that these drugs compromised her immune system, ultimately leading to pneumonia, which tragically took her life.

Chet, moving on with life

Less than a month after Nicole’s passing, Chet began to grapple with the reality of what had happened. Many people expressed concern for him, and wondered how he and his family were coping. As one can imagine, they were in the midst of adapting to life without Nicole, a process that proved far from easy.

Chet emphasized that when life delivers its harshest blows, the only viable option is to continue pressing ahead. He shared that he’d been down before, but was resolute in his determination not to go back there again. This loss weighed heavily on his and Nicole’s families. Nevertheless, they had made a conscious effort to communicate openly and provide mutual support as best they could.

Despite the immense challenges he was personally enduring, Chet offered words of encouragement to those who might be facing similar ordeals, or dealing with other hardships in their lives. He emphasized the solace that prayer can provide, and the comfort that comes from recognizing God’s presence during the toughest moments. Chet also stressed the importance of seeking help when needed, reminding everyone that they need not bear their burdens alone. He spoke of how their families leaned on one another during this trying period, which had been invaluable.

Jean Marie Golden, Chet’s fiancee

Chet doesn’t divulge much about his personal life on his social media platforms, so it came as a pleasant surprise to many when he introduced his new love interest, Jean Marie Golden, a licensed nursing home administrator from Appleton, Minnesota. In March 2023, he shared a couple of photos from their vacation in Cancun. Although it remains unclear when or how the two first crossed paths, Jean had posted a photo on her Instagram account of them together as early as June 2022.

Jean took pride in her agricultural roots. She hailed from a family deeply entrenched in farming. Her late grandfather, with whom she shared a close bond, had dedicated his entire life to farming. Her father, currently the service manager at Midwest Machinery, played a significant role in her upbringing. Jean fondly remembered spending countless hours riding with him during service calls, assisting farmers with their equipment troubles. To her, he was a hero who single-handedly raised and provided for her, ensuring she had everything she needed during her formative years.

For Jean, loving Chet has been the most exhilarating adventure of her life; he brings her immeasurable happiness. In February 2022, she purchased a four-level house, and Chet, along with his brother, Stone Clayton, has been invaluable in helping her with the renovation work. Despite their busy schedules, Chet and Jean always found time to be together. Jean shared the wonderful news of their engagement in an Instagram post on April 29th. Chet’s mom, Amy, posted a video on her Instagram account on May 1st, capturing the moment Chet got down on one knee to propose to Jean. They are planning to have a December wedding.

Earnings and Net Worth

Owning a large farm, while potentially leading to significant earnings for the Larsons, also entails substantial expenses due to the scale of their operation. Many people are curious about the size of their farm. However, on their official website, they choose not to disclose the exact number of acres they own, preferring to keep it private. Nevertheless, one can make an educated guess about the farm’s size by considering the types of tractors, combines, and elevator facilities they use, all suggesting a considerable operation. The Larsons also offer merchandise, and have secured numerous sponsors, as indicated on their website.

They do not reveal their exact profits from corn and soybean farming, but it’s evident that each year brings its own set of challenges. In a February 2023 interview, Chet shared that their farm had produced 15% fewer soybeans compared to the previous year, despite replicating the same farming practices, including the use of the same fertilizer, seeds, and agricultural chemistry. Chet attributed this to the weather, which he said is the most significant variable influencing their crop yields.

Being on YouTube has brought numerous benefits to them, including networking opportunities and partnerships with companies. While they haven’t publicly disclosed their exact YouTube earnings, reports suggest that it fluctuates monthly, depending on the number of video views and the associated ad revenue. On average, their channel is estimated to generate around $9,600 per month.

Additionally, it’s believed that Larson Farms holds a conservative net worth of approximately $2.7 million, considering the combined value of the farm, trucks, and equipment. Chet Larson, individually, is said to have an estimated net worth of $700,000.

As Larson Farms continues to thrive, Chet Larson and his family are excited about the future. His goal is to continue working, and keep doing what he does. While there have been discussions about expansion plans, Chet mentioned that they would still be happy if they didn’t grow further.  They have a saying, ‘What comes to us, comes to us, and we’ll be happy with it.’ They will continue to grow their YouTube channel as it serves as a platform, not only to showcase their love for farming, but also to educate and inspire the next generation of agricultural enthusiasts.

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