By Nanci Dixon
Sid and Karen Woods are a retired couple that are currently park hosts at a campground in Minnesota. After their park host gig ends here, they will be going to Michigan to work the sugar beet harvest. The Woodses worked the harvest last year for the first time in North Dakota and loved it.
Not only did they make some significant money for completing the entire month, but they said how much the farmers appreciated their work. The farmers said that if people were not there helping, they didn’t know how they would get their beets offloaded at the piling station. The piles of sugar beets are high – 30 ft. high – up to 1/4 mile long and about 100 ft. wide! Those are some big piles of sugar beets! Interestingly, the dirt is shaken off the beets after they are unloaded and returned to the farmer who then returns them to his or her field.
Sid and Karen were assistants on the ground. It was not a hard job but did require endurance, standing for twelve hours a day for an entire month. Days off are only when it is too warm or rainy to harvest the beets. It can get cold, too – as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit, so a good pair of boots, a very warm coat and gloves are essential.
They really liked that the company had a dedication to safety, providing thorough safety training and having emergency safety procedures in place. They felt that the company genuinely cared about their workers’ well-being. The harvesting company paid for a nearby campsite with full hookups and an hourly wage. Sid and Karen met people from all over the U.S., even as far away as Alaska. For them, it was also a good way to learn about the agriculture industry and economy.
In addition to the money, the campsite and the enormous appreciation from the farmers, they got a lot of good, healthy exercise and fresh air! Working the sugar beet harvest may not be for everyone, but it certainly makes this couple happy and eager to do it again.
You can learn more about RVers working the sugar beet harvest here.