Brought to you exclusively by CarbonTV, American Harvest is a serial documentary about the
oldest industry known to mankind… farming. Follow along as we take you on a journey to see how
farming is now becoming the most advanced industry the world has ever seen.
American Harvest follows Johnson Harvesting, Inc., a family owned custom farming
and harvesting outfit in Central Minnesota. Originally an 80-acre family farm from the 1800s,
the Johnson family farm evolved into a much bigger operation with over 2,500 acres. Since the
1950s, Johnson Harvesting has been transporting heavy machinery to southern states in the early
spring, and harvesting fields as they travel north back home to Minnesota.
The business is now led by brothers Lance and Shawn. Every year the brothers repeat the same
cycle – prep, plant, route the harvest, and train a crew of young men to operate combines, grain
carts, and semi trucks for the 8 months of harvest from Texas to Minnesota.
American Harvest also explores the support system around Johnson Harvesting. Bob Ehlers, an
area farmer and consultant is a longtime friend of the Johnson’s. His associate, Leah Johnson,
niece of Lance and Shawn, has taken her lifetime of farming influence and turned it into a career
of her own. Area agronomists, Ag salesmen, and researchers also add to the story.
The basics of farming and harvesting haven’t changed much over the years. What has changed is
the technology and the channels through which the money flows. The machinery is bigger, faster,
loaded with computers, and more expensive. The stakes are higher with worldwide
competition. The challenges are more nuanced with commodity traders, big corporations, various
businesses competing for transportation, and a shrinking generation of new farmers. Add to all
that, the ever-present force of Mother Nature. Like every farmer, the Johnson’s are effected by the
changing dynamic of modern day farming. The choices are to adapt or fade away.
American Harvest is about more than farming. It’s about community, relationships, and the
marriage of old wisdom and new technologies. It’s about exploration, growth, hard work, and
the intricate system that ultimately feeds the world. Experience the extraordinary life of farming
through the eyes of Lance and Shawn Johnson, this season on American Harvest.