Image: Vader Farms sugar beet harvest

The snow and cold weather caused local sugar beet farmers to band together and harvest their crop before the deadline.

“A lot of tough weather conditions to work through, a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety, but they got it done,” Executive Vice President of Michigan Sugar Jim Ruhlman said.

More than 20 farmers gathered at Vander Farms in Tuscola County on Nov. 10 and worked nonstop to harvest 90 acres of sugar beets before the deep freeze set in.

“Lot of long hours, lot of stressful hours, a lot of hard work that was done, and I’m glad they can rest today for a little bit,” Ruhlman said.

There are still about 2,800 acres of crop to harvest but they plan to finish it next week due to the weather.

“We’ve got 900 farms in our growing area and most of them got all their beets out. There’s probably another handful, probably 10 to 20 that didn’t,” Ruhlman said.

The farmers are planning to work together once again to get the job done.

“We still think we can get them next week, we’ll work collaboratively with those farmers to do everything we can to help get them out of the ground,” Ruhlman said.

The rainy October created acres of muddy fields forcing delays to the harvest which is normally completed by now.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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