The Legacy of Chesnut Farms: A Century of Family, Farming and Growth

The Legacy of Chesnut Farms: A Century of Family, Farming and Growth

The story of Chesnut Farms is one of hard work and generations united by a shared passion for farming. From its beginnings in 1918, the family-owned farm in Kersey, Colorado has evolved over the decades, overcoming challenges and embracing technological advancements along the way. At the heart of the journey are the Chesnut family members. Kevin and Julie have four sons: Dawson, Riley, Brody and Duke. Dawson and Riley along with their young families run the farm most closely with their father Kevin, while the youngest brother Duke helps with the cattle. Together, the family works to carry the centennial legacy forward.

The Chesnut family came to Colorado in 1918 under unusual circumstances. Kevin’s grandfather, the farm’s founder, left Illinois due to bootlegging around the time of prohibition. He hit the road to Colorado where he began making his own moonshine and taking it from Kersey to Masonville every weekend in a horse and wagon. Settling in the Centennial State, he eventually transitioned from bootlegging to farming.

Kevin Chesnut, the youngest of his siblings and the grandson of the farm’s founder, emerged as the driving force behind Chesnut Farms’ modern transformation. Initially, he took over the farm’s operations from his uncles and cousins. At the age of 16, he stepped up to manage the farm when others were not interested. Together with his mother, he helped build the foundation the farm has today.

“Even though it is a centennial farm, my dad basically started from ground zero and built it from the ground up,” Dawson said.

John Deere’s equipment and technology played a significant role in Chesnut Farms’ success story. Corey Covelli, the family’s trusted 21st Century Equipment salesman, became a valued partner and friend to the Chesnuts, guiding them through technology adoption and equipment decisions.

“Corey is pretty much family around here,” Dawson said. “We do a lot more than just buy tractors from him; he’s been here for a long time.”

Both Dawson and Riley remember getting their first tractor with GPS on it. It was the only tractor they ever drove, and they would attach all their implements to it. Now, almost everything the Chesnuts run is GPS-ready.

As a long-time partner with the Chesnuts, Corey has also had the privilege to watch Dawson and Riley grow up on the farm.

“When I met the Chesnuts, Dawson and Riley were little kids, and they’ve grown into their dad. They love farming, they love everything about it. It’s refreshing to see the younger generation growing up to have the same integrity and ethics as their dad.”

Now, the Chesnuts continue their centennial legacy with their two, soon to be three, grandchildren. To Kevin and Julie, it means the world to watch their grandchildren grow up on the farm.

“You just work all your life for what you’ve got, and you want to give it to somebody,” Kevin said.

Looking forward, the Chesnuts’ aspirations extend beyond their own lifetimes. Riley and Dawson both envision a future where their children continue the farming tradition, instilled with the same values of hard work and perseverance they have gained. 

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