DECATUR, Ill. – Case IH has joined with Welker Farms in a new partnership, announced at the Farm Progress Show Aug. 27-29 in Decatur, Ill.
“We are announcing we are officially partnering with Case IH,” Nick Welker told hundreds of their fans at the Case IH booth at the Farm Progress Show. “We really want to thank Case IH.”
Case IH flew the Welkers, who were nearing the end of cutting spring wheat on their farm in north central Montana, to Decatur for the big farm show, known as the ‘largest outdoor farm show in the U.S.’
Bob Welker, and his two sons, Nick, and Scott, each spoke to more than 1,000 fans, and signed Case IH hats with their Welker Farms logo on the side.
The Welkers are well known to hundreds of thousands of farmers and others worldwide. They tell their story of agriculture and their family across several social media outlets, particularly on their YouTube channel.
They have nearly 246,000 subscribers, and some of their videos have 1-2.1 million views.
“You are probably wondering how the Case IH partnership is going to affect our channel, and it turns out, the best part is they want it to be organic. They just want us to be ourselves,” Scott said. “This whole adventure has been amazing, and it is because all of you.”
Their Case IH dealership, Torgerson’s LLC, that the family purchases its Case IH equipment and parts from, is located 15 miles from their farm in Ethridge.
At the Ethridge Torgerson’s, Chris Roberts, parts rep for Torgerson’s, said he has known the Welkers for more than a decade, and enjoys working with them.
“I’ve worked at Torgerson’s for five years, and I know they all are very knowledgeable and innovative farmers,” said Roberts, who is originally from Fromberg.
Torgerson’s and Case IH will help the Welkers with machinery or other products that might help farmers farm better and with more efficiency, according to Scott.
“Our farm is based on family. We think a lot about the legacy we are setting for our children. We think about passing it on, and that is our main goal,” Scott said.
Scott and his wife, Sarah, have two children, and Nick and his wife, Kathleen, also have two children, and are expecting one more.
While being a busy Dad – and of course, farming - Nick spends many hours at night editing to post two videos a week. Recently, he finally decided to find an editor to help him, so he could get some sleep.
So how did the Welkers YouTube channel actually start?
“When I was in college, we were on spring break and a bunch of my Denver buddies came up to the farm. They had the time of their lives,” Nick said. His buddies wanted him to film farming operations and put it up on YouTube. So Nick bought a GoPro and thought about taking photos of farm operations.
He didn’t film for a while. But in 2011, their Big Bud (tractor) needed renovations, and it was the perfect opportunity.
Nick decided to let the camera take hundreds of photos of the renovations they were making on the Big Bud, and then edit them down to create a video.
“It was fun but it was also a lot of work,” he said. It went up on YouTube and “people liked it.”
In 2012, Nick used the GoPro to take a video of the farm for the Welker Farms Centennial. That also went up on YouTube and their fans wanted more. He did a video of Montana farming, filming an entire season of farming, and that went up.
By 2016, Nick had purchased an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (drone) and really started filming.
“I got a drone and I began filming the storms coming, the purple skies, rain and rainbows and the shadows in the clouds. The color of the crop glistened that year, and people said it was breathtaking. My style is music and cinematology, and I learned story telling along the way,” Nick said.
Bob talked about how he and his wife, Karen, third generations on the farm, believe in faith, family and working together on the farm.
“My wife and I raised two sons (Nick and Scott) and two daughters (Laura and Lisa),” Bob said. “I don’t think there is any place to grow up but on a farm. You have jobs to do. You learn that work ethic, and you learn that what you put in is what you get out.”
Bob and Karen homeschooled their kids until they went to high school. At first, Bob thought they might be out of place in a public school.
But just the opposite happened.
“It ended up we would have 25 kids at our farm on weekends because there were so many rich things they could do and have fun with on a farm,” he said. “The boys grew up and grew talents. I buy a lot of older stuff (machines), so there was always something to fix and they used their creativity to make this farm work. Now they are tremendous boys with wives and I have a lot of wonderful grandchildren.”
Back in the 70s, the Welkers needed larger equipment to farm the large acres they had, and had a Big Bud tractor built for them.
In the mid-90s, the Welkers changed to no-till farming, so they didn’t need to spend as many hours in the tractor as conventional farming. The result was the tractors never really wore out. They just needed repairs now and then, and the Welkers could do most of that.
Bob checked into Case IH combines in the mid-90s.
“We were getting cracked grain in our winter wheat with our old combine, and these (Case IH) combines are so much simpler and we don’t have cracked grain anymore,” he said. “I made the change to a 1680 in 1995, and I never looked back.”
Last year, they made the difficult farming decision to purchase two Case IH 8230 combines. Like every other farm family, they need to make the finances work.
“Our operations grew where we needed larger combines, and we needed the capacity,” Bob said. “We were fortunate our Torgerson salesman got us two 8230s, and they work like a dream. I’m looking forward to cutting the last few acres of wheat when we get back home.”
The Welkers acknowledged the tough year that farmers and their families have gone through with spring flooding, trying to get their crop in the ground, and with crop prices low and still having to make the normal payments to be able to stay on the farm.
“We know it has been a tough year for you. We have payments, too, and crop prices are low. We have heard about your struggles trying to get a crop in the ground. But this is not the first time all our families have been through this. We all have a dream and it is a proud heritage,” Nick said.
Bob added they felt it was important to bring their story of agriculture to folks who are far removed from the farm.
“People need to know there is a lot of work that goes into the food products they buy at the store,” Bob said.
The Welkers felt blessed being able to visit and talk with fans, many of them farm kids and farm parents/grandparents.
“The Lord has blessed us immensely. We did not know all this would happen and we would not have planned it this way if we had had a hand in it. We get up everyday knowing there is a purpose and a result. There is a tomorrow and you will look back and say, ‘did I really have to worry?’”