The Beet Piler
“I’m tired of standing there by the beet piler watching the beets fall,” he said. “I want to be a truck driver.”
He wasn’t piling beets when I met him. He was mowing grass and his mower had overheated. While he waited for it to cool he told me about working sugar beets.
“The beet season starts mid-September and runs until the first frost. They grow the beets east of here, pick them then send them to the sugar plant in Scotts Bluff.”
After the beets are picked, a machine called a piler loads them on to semi trucks that take them to the sugar beet processing plant.
He said, “I’m the beet piler’s assistant. My job is to pick up the beets that miss the truck. And pick up all the other stuff that falls out of the beets – rocks, dirt, stems. All this other junk that gets mixed in with the beets.”
But that was getting old. He wanted to move up to beet truck driver.
Then there was the matter of automation. “Lots of things about beet piling are getting automated so I want to move on to something higher up the chain. Maybe work the cage dumper.”
He ran out of things to say about working sugar beets. He stared at his overheated mower. Lifted the hood. Pulled up a dusty screen. “Air filter was clogged,” he said with satisfaction.
Then he fired up the mower and got back to cutting grass. The mules and I rode out of his life.
I hope he gets the truck driving gig.
More Beet Piling Info
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