Kip Siegler is pumped up for the day, stepping out of his house and ready to go. Through the wide-angle lens of his camera, he’s telling his over 25,000 subscribers on YouTube what’s happening on Siegler Dairy Farm in Imlay City, Michigan.
“Hey, busy day today, we’re going to get some augers, service the silo, we’re going to start chopping if we can,” he said. “It’s going to be a good one, going to be hot. Let’s go!”
The fast-paced video takes you from one chore to the next. From chopping and round baling hay to climbing to the top of a silo, Kip shows his perspective of the day’s work, narrating the action throughout the nearly 15-minute-long video. At 163,691 views to date, it’s the most popular video on the Kip Siegler Farming YouTube channel.
The team behind the channel is Kip and his new wife, Rochelle, MMPA members from the Mid-Thumb Local in District 8. The Sieglers were recently selected as the 2021 MMPA Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperators (OYDC) by a panel of judges represented by leaders in the Great Lakes dairy industry.
Kip started the YouTube channel a few years ago after seeing his nieces and nephews engrossed in online videos on their smart devices over Christmas.
“I didn’t know what it was. I said, ‘What are you all watching?’ and it was YouTube. So I looked into it and saw there was farming on there. Man, I think I can do that,” he said.
From there, Kip practiced recording and watching himself for four months. He and Rochelle taught themselves how to edit the videos and got the channel rolling.
“The first one that really went well was when I incorporated Rochelle. We did a crop survey. She was down by the corn and the corn was towering over her. It got 60,000 views just because Rochelle was in it,” he said.
But their most successful videos come from when Kip shows his viewers what he knows best. “The bread-and-butter videos are chopping,” he said. “It’s because it’s what you know. We know those silos in and out. You’re not grasping for things to say, you’re just doing it.”
Having racked up over 3 million total views on YouTube, their next goal is to one day achieve 100,000 YouTube subscribers. While Kip speaks to all people with a close behind-the-scenes view of dairy farming, the channel is big with middle aged males and older viewers, with 20 percent of viewers in the 65 and up crowd.
“These people, they are big dairy supporters,” he said. “They’re 25,000 strong and they’re hard core about dairy. I’m building strong dairy supporters.”
Though Kip is the internet star, the farm behind the fame is made possible by a partnership between Kip, his dad, Jeff, and his brothers, Greg and Mark. The farm was started in 1952, making the three brothers the third generation.
As Kip and his brothers came back to work on the farm full time over the years, they’ve made it work by coming together. “Everything just fell into place. You know what each other’s strengths are. The key to that, everyone milks equally and then we play to everyone’s strengths,” he said.
Together, they have grown the farm and today are milking around 200 cows twice a day and have nearly doubled the land farmed to around 1,900 acres.
“We’re just putting up the best quality feed possible, putting everything back into the ground that we take out, so these cows are healthy as possible,” Kip said. “That’s what we’re all about.”
“Every day we have a whole line of things that we want to accomplish, we just get it done. We plan on being here for another 50 years. I think we’re on the right track by having our family here because those are the ones you can rely on. You need someone with a vested interest, someone who sees that they have a future. That it’s not just a job, it’s your lifestyle.”
Kip reiterated what makes a difference on their farm is teamwork. “Nobody puts themselves ahead of anything. We’re all capable of doing everything.”
When his brother was out for a few months for a health issue, they stepped up. “We had to work nonstop, but we didn’t bat an eye. We knew he would be back. We stepped up when we needed to step up. The commitment we have, it’s long-term. I hope that we can embed that in the younger generations, that’s the goal.”
While his brother has leaned on him in the past, lately Kip has been able to lean on his brothers. Through the late summer, Kip has been struggling with some health issues and the couple has been prepping for their September 4 wedding. With their positive attitude and their family commitment, they’re making it through challenging times.
Speaking with the Sieglers just days before their wedding, it’s obvious they’re encouraged by one another as they build their new family. Together, they have three children, Catherine (9), Chloe (6) and Grant (6 months).
“I’ve always wanted to be a mom and have a family,” Rochelle said. “The girls, they’re not my daughters, but I treat them like they’re my own. They honestly motivate me. Getting into a relationship with him, I knew what I was taking on. I just try to be a good role model for them and now I have my son. It’s everything I’ve always wanted and now I’m getting it. It was worth the wait.”
Kip says his motivation is Rochelle. “My life started spiraling upward almost since the day I met her. She’s the one of the most positive people I’ve ever met. People say that about me, but I’ve got to get it from somewhere too. When you have someone who believes that you can accomplish just about anything, that’s all you need. If you have someone who believes in you that much, then you make it happen,” he said.
And you can expect to see more of this on Kip Siegler Dairy Farming. As Kip has been recovering and the wedding approaches, their YouTube content has shifted to from mostly farming to more family. Kip has kept his viewers up to date with a close personal view of their family life that may be here to stay.
“I like showing the farm, I like inspiring people. Being injured, they’re like, ‘You’ve inspired us so much,’” he said about his YouTube viewers. “But I do need some inspiration right now myself. It goes both ways. you’re not always going to be up in life, it’s good to stay positive and root people on, because at some point, you’re going to need it yourself.”
This article was originally published in the September/October 2021 issue of the Milk Messenger. Subscribe »