John Deere Horicon Works featured on Magnolia Network

Amber Burke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Magnolia Network's film crew interviews an employee at John Deere Horicon Works

John Deere is referenced in hundreds of country music songs, and now it's making it's way onto your television screen.

Thanks to Joanna and Chip Gaines' affinity for the John Deere brand, the popular lawn tractor is currently featured on an episode of "Extraordinary Stories Behind Everyday Things" on the Magnolia Television Network series.

The episode features the history of the lawn mower and presents the manufacturing process of the John Deere X350 Lawn Tractor, performed at their Horicon, Wis., location. 

Chip and Joanna Gaines with Magnolia Network text

Launched in 2021, "Extraordinary Stories Behind Everyday Things" spotlights how America’s favorite USA-made goods are produced, while getting to know the faces behind those manufactured items. The Magnolia television network looks for companies that have a nostalgic history, scale in production, and offer a product that customers can buy.

According to Wayne Southall, factory manager at Horicon Works, "Apparently the Gaines family (especially Chip) are fans of John Deere, and they liked the small town feel of Horicon, which led them to choose us for the show."

The episode, number ten in season three of the series, entitled "Lawn Tractor-Learn how John Deere builds it's classic riding lawn tractor in Horicon, Wisconsin" was filmed at the manufacturing facility in September of 2021.

Magnolia staff first reached out in early 2021 and wanted to set up film production for the spring. However, due to some special Covid protocols at the factory, the timing didn't work out well, so it got pushed back to the fall. 

Initially, television producers conducted two 1-2 hour virtual interviews with some of the John Deere staff, collecting information including history, product information and the manufacturing process.

After the film crew devised an outline, they spent two 10-hour days filming at the two plant locations in Horicon. Over the course of two days, they interviewed approximately 12-15 employees in multiple departments.

Southall says they followed the entire manufacturing process utilized to make the riding lawn equipment. "They covered every aspect of production, from stamping of the steel to welding parts as well as painting to assembly."

"We also talked to them about the history of John Deere Horicon Works, which began in  1963," Southall says. "They also captured shots from our test facility, which is on a large piece of land where they test products after they are assembled to ensure everything is performing the way it should."

After filming concluded, production edited down the 20 hours of footage to a 12-minute television episode, which recently aired in March. It is currently airing on the Magnolia Network, or it can be streamed on the internet at www.magnolia.com.

Overall, Southall feels they did a great job of presenting an accurate depiction of the product's history as well as covering all the major production process steps. In addition, he says, "I think the program created a great sense of pride amongst our employees. They work hard every day and being recognized for it is definitely a positive benefit."

Magnolia Network's film crew goes off site to interview a former employee that collects John Deere lawn equipment.

John Deere Program Manager, Chris Bayley also said Horicon Works was honored to be chosen for the segment. “It was a cool opportunity for us to share some of our local history,” he said. “It’s really neat to see a show focus on our heritage and our product, which has a high quality and a great reputation in its field.”

In addition to lawn mowers, Horicon Works produces gators, utility vehicles, walk-behind greens mowers for golf courses, snow blowers and blade attachments for their equipment. A large number of Horicon residents are employed by the local John Deere facility.

The Magnolia network is the former DIY network found on cable or satellite TV and streaming platforms. Other shows featured on the station are Fixer Upper, Magnolia Table, and Restoration Road.