A Tech Leader in his Field
As fifth-generation farmer, Zach Johnson has agriculture embedded deep in his DNA. Which, if you ask Zach, is a history he shares with our nation as a whole.
The story of the American farmer is the story of America itself. Much of the country’s identity and its place in the world is defined by the agriculture it produces and shares. Unfortunately, Zach says, it’s a background more and more Americans simply don’t know about, and he’s hoping to use the latest technology to help spread the word.
Farmers are very independent people,” Zach said. “We get up every day, roll up our sleeves and get the job done. I want to help connect this message to people who are disconnected from farming.”
Through his MN Millennial Farmer social media channels, Zach shows what goes on behind the scenes at his family’s farm. Zach believes farmers remain, by and large, a proud, hard-working people. Although he also aims to combat some of the misinformation out there about agriculture, Zach largely focuses on the positives and speaks to those who have an interest in farming.
“If I can reach those who don’t see what’s on the farm, but have a genuine curiosity, I can help educate and inform about the people, the business and the choices we make,” Zach said.
Zach works about 2,600 acres of corn and soybeans on some of the land first homesteaded by his great-great-great grandfather in the 1870s. After a short stint off the farm as a machinist, he came home and quickly saw the impact emerging technology was having on his industry.
“Farmers are real people, real families, doing hard work. Part of that, is adopting new technologies,” Zach said.
From specialized crops to advanced fertilizers and even GPS-driven farm equipment, the world of agriculture is a fast-evolving space and Zach sees a world of potential. Much of the advances being made in this industry focus on better, healthier and larger crops, there’s also a sector of information sharing that wasn’t possible just a few years ago.
One of the results of this information flow has been a shrinking of the world from a communication perspective. This means that a farmer in Minnesota can interact directly with farmers in New Mexico or a chef in Manhattan or a sheep rancher in Europe.
“Farming is generally all the same across the world,” Zach said. “But we all do things somewhat differently to achieve our results. Learning about those little things is exciting.”
One commonality is the need for gear and apparel that help get the job done. Zach is matter of fact when he talks about Walls Outdoor Goods.
You have to have good, hard-working apparel to do my job.”
And for younger farmers like Zach, adopting smart technology in everything from clothing to implements to chemistry is helping them make smarter choices and be even better stewards of the land.
“We’re good people making the choices we make for a reason,” Zach emphasized. “New tech is a good thing. Farmers aren’t adopting it without understanding it and the potential impact.”
“I take a ton of pride in providing the food, fiber and fuel for the world,” he said. “I love being able to see my labor come to fruition in the fall and literally reap the benefits of my harvest.”
“It’s a real passion. I don’t know what else I would do.”