Lincoln County homesteaders use online marketing to support farming business

Troy McClung (courtesy Red Tool House)

BY CYNTHIA MCCOMAS, ENERGIZING ENTREPRENEURIAL COMMUNITIES VISTA, THE HUB

Red Tool House is a 100 acre Lincoln County farm which specializes in pastured pork and poultry. The farm is managed by Troy and Kelly McClung, though they do much more than tend to the land to keep their business going.

Though West Virginia natives, the couple moved to Florida for work after college. When they returned to WV, they wanted to relocate to a rural setting, but close to Charleston. The couple chose to settle in Lincoln County in 2000, where they bought a piece of land that had been vacant for 20 years.

During those years, locals used the land as an illegal dumping grounds. Before moving onto the property, the couple removed 220 tires from the land, in addition to countless appliances and other types of garbage. In the 19 years that the McClungs have owned the land, they have cleaned up all 100 acres and improved the water and soil quality.

Their plan in owning the land wasn’t always to run a business, but about seven years ago, McClung leaned into the potential of his farm as a source of revenue. “We got more and more interested in farming practices and where our food came from,” he said. McClung has a background in marketing, which has helped him grow the business. In addition to raising pastured pigs and chickens, McClung started a YouTube channel documenting the work he does at Red Tool House.

Troy McClung (courtesy Red Tool House)

Today, his YouTube channel has over 25,000 subscribers and over 2.3 million views. McClung markets to an audience who wants to learn to do what he does at Red Tool House on their own land. Popular videos teach viewers how to raise pigs and chickens, how to fund a homestead, and how to judge the quality of land.

Find Red Tool House on YouTube »

McClung even recorded a series of homesteading marketing videos, in which he teaches viewers how to develop their homestead brand and online presence. Homesteading is a hobby growing in popularity among those trying to decrease their carbon footprint by raising food and necessities on their own land. It can become a profitable business for those who also sell what they raise and grow.

McClung said that his next big project is to start a podcast about pastured pigs, for which he will interview experts from around the world.

The internet is a main cause for McClung’s success, but building an online business does not come without its challenges. “One of the biggest obstacles I face is bandwidth,” McClung said. Broadband internet is not available in Lincoln County where his farm is located, and the complaint of lack of internet access in the county is not an uncommon one.

Still, McClung is optimistic for the future of Red Tool House. “There is a lot of value in starting your own businesses,” he said. “You should be scared, but the payoff can be so huge both financially and in terms of life satisfaction.”

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