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By GRANT L. SHUMWAY, Commissioner Public Lands and Buildings

     A beet is not much of a subject to write poetry about, yet there is poetry in nature, no matter where found.
     In western Nebraska nature has provided an especial adaptability for concentrating sunlight into a commercial quality, which is one of the necessities of mankind. This particular concentrated sunshine is granulated sugar.
     The succulent sugar beet is the chemical laboratory in which sunshine is caught and concentrated. Sunlight is carbon and it enters through the green foliage and affiliates with the juices that build the fiber of the roots. Therefore, the bountiful sunlight of western Nebraska is an ideal place for producing sugar.
     Four great factories in the state are now engaged in the manufacturing of beet sugar. They are located at Scottsbluff, Gering, Bayard and Grand Island. The Grand Island factory is the oldest, the one at Scottsbluff one of the largest in the world, and those at Gering and Bayard are the very last word of efficiency.
     The raising of sugar beets has become a fixed principle in the Platte valley, its branches and tributaries. A spread of the acreage covers territory from beyond the Wyoming line to Central City. It stimulates land values and city building. It is generally conceded a profitable and sure crop. Some very high per acre returns have been recorded, occasionally $100 to $125. In other cases it has proven the benefactor of the farmer who has had his crop severely punished by a hail storm. If the beet tops are entirely beaten

Nebraska Hospital for Insane, Norfolk

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Nebraska School for the Deaf, Omaha

off, their recuperative powers have demonstrated themselves and lair crops have been returned.
     Good as the direct results are in dollars and cents, there are general and incidental effects of much value:
     Beet cultivation teaches intensive farming.
     It benefits the soil.
     This may he a surprise to you who have heard a second and third year of continuous beets decreases the per acre tonnage. But it is true.
     Deep cultivation, essential for growing good beets, oxidizes the soil and subsoil to a greater depth than general farming. Aside from the refuse and fertilization left on the ground by feeding the beet tops to cattle or sheep, the lifting of the beets breaks many fibers from the body and leaves in the soil from one to two tons of growth per acre, which puts the humus just where it is needed.
     Following sugar beets with crops of small grain brings prodigious results. Fifty per cent above normal are common increases. If the dirt is carefully removed from the small grain root one can find that it follows the line of decayed beet fibers sometimes two feet or more down in the ground.
     As a crop one can bank upon, it is probable that none better can be found in the west. It is the general thing for banks to supply practically all of the operating expenses of beet farming with a positive assurance of a return of the money loaned, and the farmer also knows he will have a credit to his account at the end of the season.
     The capacity of Nebraska sugar mills is around two million sacks of refined sugar per season. Laid end to end they would make a continuous line for seven hundred miles. To transport the product to market would take fifty trains of eighty cars each, while three hundred trains of equal length would be required to transport the beets to the mills.
      Food administrators admonish us to raise more sugar and a price will

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be established to make sure a reasonable profit. A patriotic service, with assurance of fair to excellent returns, is the lot of sugar beet growers in Nebraska and there are many farms splendidly adapted for this crop which lack manpawer. We need more people.

     In proportion to population Nebraska is the largest producer of poultry and eggs among the states. It is no longer a mere "sideline" upon the farms, but has become a stable industry of itself. During 1917 the poultry industry of Nebraska approximated $45,000,000, and Nebraska poultry and eggs "topped the market" throughout the eastern marts. The egg production of Nebraska in 1917, as reported to the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture and the Commissioner of Labor was, in round numbers, two hundred million dozen, with a farm value of approximately $50,000,000. It is estimated that one-half of these eggs were consumed upon the farms, and that the poultry raisers of Nebraska sold $25,000,000 worth of eggs. Live and dressed poultry shipped to market aggregated $20,000,000 in value.
     The cream check and the egg money are no longer trifles. They are proving one of the chief sources of income to thousands of Nebraska farmers. The demand for Nebraska poultry and eggs is growing at a tremendous rate, and scientific poultry raising has taken the place of the old "hit or miss" methods. Pure strains, proper housing, balanced feeding-these have raised the poultry business of Nebraska to a high and profitable plane. Here is a true story, the name of the woman being omitted for obvious reasons. It is told in her own words:
     "A few years ago my butter and egg money sufficed to buy the few articles of wearing apparel I needed. I milked four cows and raised a lot of chickens, paying no attention whatever to breeds, and satisfied with whatever eggs I got and the few chickens we consumed on the farm. I presume my butter and egg money brought me in an average of $5 a month, maybe $6 or $7. And the milking and the care of the milk and the churning was a big job for me, along with my other duties as a farm wife.
     "I no longer churn, and instead of milking four cows we now milk from eight to ten. I long since got rid of all my mixed breeds of poultry and now give as much attention to pure strains as my husband does to his live stock. Nor do I let my chickens run wild all the time. I have provided them with comfortable housing, and while giving them enough room for exercising I do not compel them to depend upon their own rustling abilities for their feed. I see to it that they have enough to eat and of the right kind. We no longer wait until Saturday to take butter and eggs to town to trade off for calico and ribbons and sugar and tea. We go to town not less than twice a week, more often three times. I see to it that my eggs are clean and properly packed in cases, and my cream contained in clean and polished cans. We sell direct

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© 2002 for the NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, Ted & Carole Miller