My dad has been farming for over 40 years. When he started, he and Mom lived in a tiny house (the same house they live in now, but back then the entire house was what is now the entry, kitchen, and dining room) and he farmed with his dad and brother. After Grandpa died, the brothers continued to farm together and split the land up when Harold's son wanted to join his dad in the farming. The main crop of the valley is Sugar Beets. They also grow wheat and barley and corn. The beets need to be irrigated so you have to dig ditches into each field and each field is full of rows. You carry out a hundred or so irrigation tubes and use your hand to start each one siphoning water into it's row. You continue to check on it for a couple hours until the water reaches the end of the row, then you pick them all up, move them to the next hundred rows, and repeat. Sometimes that repeat happens 3 or four times a day, or night. Meanwhile, you are being stung by mosquitoes... Also, the whole crop is dependent upon the weather. One bad storm at the wrong time can totally wipe out your crop, or drastically damage it. For example this fall during beet harvest, it got super rainy and stalled the entire harvest for a couple weeks. If they would have gotten an early hard freeze, the entire valley of crops could have been ruined. but it didn't, and they were fine :) In the summer, big storms out there are amazing to watch, but if you're a farming family, you spend the entire time wondering what's going to be left in the fields the next day. Beet Harvest is the coolest time... Every able body is assigned to a beet truck ("you take that one over there, there's a pillow to prop you up in the seat and be careful, the brakes don't work very good") and they wait their turn at the field to be filled up by the beet digger and then they drive to the beet dump, where they wait in line and get weighed, dump their beets, get weighed again, and then repeat.
My brother Casey went to college and moved to Vegas, where he lived the life of the beautiful people and was a bar back for some of the fun places you visit when you're down there. (Coyote Ugly, yes) He met Kim and they lived the night life for a few years and after little Brock was born, they moved back to be on the farm and raise their family the way we kids were raised. Casey has been farming with dad for 3 years and the first year back, they made the top 10. Cool, because Dad hadn't been there very many times before and it was nice timing for Casey to start out with that. (Top 10 is based on tonnage and sugar content) This year, they were in top 10 again and as they were counting down each farm, it turns out that they were number 1!!! Super cool. Way to go guys!
This picture has nothing to do with sugar beets, but I took it and I love it.