Local growers rally to combine late farmer's fields, and go viral in the process

A video showing the farmers at work has been viewed millions of times.
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A group of farmers in west-central Minnesota have shown the real meaning of community spirit as they rallied to help following the sudden death of one of their own.

Norman Johnson, who had been farming his land in Lowry, Minnesota, for more than 60 years, died unexpectedly last Thursday with several hundred acres of soybean fields yet to be harvested.

But while his family attended his visitation, a group of neighboring farmers headed out to his land to combine his beans.

Video of the effort was shared on social media by Zach Johnson, the 5th generation family farmer who promotes responsible agriculture through his widely followed MN Millennial Farmer accounts on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

The Facebook video uploaded by Johnson on Sunday has since been viewed almost 4 million times.

"What I want to say is, we had a neighbor who lost their dad here unexpectedly and they have a few hundred acres of muddy soybeans they need to get out, so another neighbor and us are out here, we've got four combines going. We're going to knock it out for them right away, we've got the co-op out here with trucks," he says.

"They don't even know we're out here ... because this is what America's farmers do for each other, this is who we are. When people talk about big evil corporate factory farming? That's us, that's me, that's my family that's our neighbors.

"This is big, evil corporate factory farming, people helping people. We are still America's farm families, more proud than ever to do what we do, and that's provide the world with food, fiber and fuel, and help each other out."

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Norm Johnson's obituary states he was "loved and cherished by many people," including wife Irma, his three children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

On his website, Zach Johnson says his aim is to "build the connection between farmers and consumers" and facilitate a "collaborative conversation" between farmers and the public.

"Our Mission is to be proud and responsible stewards of the land for future generations while growing our business and providing a secure income for our family," he says on his Facebook page. "We achieve this through hard work, honesty, and respect for all people."

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