When Jesse Wieners talks, people listen.
In fact, more than 4,500 folks follow him on Facebook to watch videos about life on his farm. Some months, his Life by the Acre Facebook page generates as many as 500,000 interactions.
It all began in the summer of 2018, when a wildfire hit a hay field on his farm in the Texas Panhandle. He struggled to fight the fire, but wasn’t gaining ground. Wanting to share with others what was happening, he decided right then to shoot a video of the fire. The video received over 55,000 views on his personal Facebook page.
In reading viewers’ comments, however, Wieners realized that non-farmers didn’t understand the extent of the devastation. Many assumed that with insurance and government help, farmers would be okay.
That’s when he decided to create the new Facebook page, Life by the Acre, where he could post videos describing life on his farm.
Telling It Like It Is
“I decided there’s a huge disconnect between urban and farming folks,” says Wieners, a Plains Land Bank customer who grows cotton, hay, produce and wine grapes on his 3,000-acre operation. “There’s a lot of people out there who don’t understand agriculture. But I realized that their comments can’t hold up to a video that tells a positive truth about farm life.”
He and his wife, Karri, shoot all the videos for Life by the Acre. They use GoPro cameras mounted to farm equipment and fly drones to capture amazing aerial photos and video, some of which is set to music.
With passion, eloquence and well-paced delivery, Wieners educates viewers on such subjects as crop insurance, till versus no-till practices and the many uses for cotton. Sometimes he posts messages encouraging his fellow farmers and thanking them for their faith and hard work.
To reach younger audiences, he’s also active on TikTok and Snapchat, social media platforms that are popular with middle and high school students.
Educating Elected Officials
Wieners and his wife received the Texas Farm Bureau Outstanding Young Farmer Award for District 1 in 2016, 2017 and 2018. An active Farm Bureau member, he often posts about bureau events. He has even traveled to Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C., several times with the Farm Bureau to advocate for farmers.
“To me, talking to our elected officials is just as important as putting seed into the ground,” says Wieners. “Less than 2 percent of the population are farmers or ranchers. It’s no wonder people don’t understand what we do.
“I believe that if I don’t share what’s really going on, on my farm, then people who don’t understand agriculture will be making the laws for us.”
Starting His Farming Career
Although he is a first-generation farmer, Wieners has wanted to farm since he was a young boy. After years of trying to achieve that dream, his fate was sealed when he met and married Karri, who comes from a fifth-generation farm family. When Karri’s father asked him if he wanted to help on the farm, he jumped at the opportunity and has never looked back.
Thanking the Land Bank
Wieners credits Plains Land Bank for giving him the chance to start his own operation near Groom, Texas.
“It’s hard as a young farmer to buy a piece of land,” he says. “Everyone needs a little help to get started, and Plains Land Bank was there to help me.”
The Land Bank staff is proud to have such a passionate agricultural advocate among their membership.
“Jesse not only tells his story, but tells the bigger story of the importance of agriculture production,” says Trent Tyson, vice president of lending. “He continues to advocate for agriculture in an effort to educate people everywhere.”