By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota farmers face many challenges, but they’re also known to come together when the going gets tough. That’s what happened near Alexandria, when a farmer lost his father and wasn’t able to get in the field to harvest soybeans.

“It’s still muddy but luckily it’s been dry this week. The sun is out,” Zach Johnson said.

During a wet fall, Johnson is taking advantage of breaks in the weather to get in the field, but it’s not just his crops he’s harvesting.

“When tough things happen to good people, you hope the communities will rally together and help out,” he said.

Last weekend, Johnson’s elderly neighbor passed away. The man and his son were in the middle of harvest. But instead of leaving the family behind, Johnson and his fellow farmers stepped up to help out.

“We knew where he was going to be taking his grain. We talked to the co-op. They sent two guys out with trucks and had them there the whole time. We loaded out of their trucks and they took it right into the elevator where he was going to take it,” Johnson said.

The video of the farmers’ efforts went viral online, as thousands of people showed their support. It took four combines about four hours, with a short lunch break built in, to take care of 200 acres for the family.

“He had an idea some of the neighbors were going to help him out. What he didn’t know is such a large group of us would get together and knock it out,” Johnson said. “His son actually called me that evening after we were done and you could hear the relief in his voice. He asked me right away who else was involved so he could call them and thank them.”

Johnson said this act of kindness isn’t uncommon among farm families; it’s just another example of people putting their neighbors before themselves.

“Someday if my family needs help like that I would certainly hope what goes around comes around. In the meantime we help out who we can,” he said.

John Lauritsen