Crops Features

Interview: ‘American Harvest’ star Chad Olsen


There’s no question that October is a busy time of year across much of agriculture, and thanks to CarbonTV, we get to see first-hand the ups and downs that harvest season brings. Tuesday marked the launch of Season 3 of the “American Harvest” series, featuring Chad Olsen and his team from Olsen Custom Farms.

Olsen’s business is based in Hendricks, Minnesota, but the crew spends much of its time on the road between Texas and Canada harvesting wheat, milo, canola, corn, and soybeans — and hauling the grain as needed. All in all, they run more than 80 combines.

That’s what we get to see in “American Harvest.”

This week, amid the chaos of the season, AGDAILY caught up with Olsen to learn more about what makes him tick.

AGDAILY: This is the third season that you’ve been featured in some way in the “American Harvest” series. What’s changed for you since the beginning?

Olsen: What changed the most from when everyone first started following us to take some video is finding enough acres to harvest for the group to shoot! This 2017 drought has been tough.

AGDAILY: Your operation always seems to be on the go. What are some of your biggest challenges in planning jobs and executing the logistics of it all?

Olsen: The biggest challenge every year is the weather, and usually it’s the rain and not the drought. When we are working on the harvest for a customer, and it’s maybe too wet to cut but yet the crop is ready to go to the north at another customer’s job — that’s the biggest challenge. We want to keep everyone more than satisfied with our work and commitment to each job, but Mother Nature makes that difficult sometimes.

AGDAILY: We see a framed photo of your kids during the series. Over the years, has the travel associated with the job ever put a strain on your family?

Olsen: The travel really never has put a strain on my family, except maybe the packing in the days before we leave! Our kids look forward to the harvest, and we still get to spend a lot of time together. Two of my daughters are now old enough to operate the equipment, so they are right there with me, which makes it pretty fun.

AGDAILY: In the series, you highlight some of the folks who have been with the Olsen Custom Farm for a decade or more. Tell me what makes employees so committed to the operation.

Olsen: We have seven employees who have been with us for over 10 years, and one of those is almost 20 years. I think the fairness and flexibility we offer keeps people with us. We try to get to know everyone and their personalities to try to give them what we think they need to stay happy and motivated.

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