Marge Mercurio
Mead, Colo.

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September 20, 2010
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Why would a community celebrate sugar beets?


The Mead Sugar Beet Festival began five years ago as a way to educate the community on the importance of sugar beet farming in our state. In the late 1800s sugar beets were introduced to our area because of the excellent growing conditions; hot dry days, low humidity and lots of sunshine meant sugar beets were sure to have high sugar content.

Once sugar beet farming became popular, the entire community prospered. German immigrants from Russia were hired to work the fields and soon they earned enough money to purchase land and farm their own fields.

General stores, feedlots, restaurants, banks and other establishments were built as people moved to the area. Coal mining provided fuel as demand for power increased, the cotton industry supplied cotton for the sugar bags, cattle and sheep farmers provided manure to add nutrients to the beet fields and sugar beet factories recycled beet pulp to feed the cattle and sheep. Railroads were brought to the area to transport the sugar beets and communities flourished.

Land values rose, populations grew, incomes surged and the state of Colorado benefited. In the mid-1950s, Weld County was the top sugar producer in the state and second in the nation. The sugar beet industry was heavily invested in teaching new farming methods, successful irrigation techniques and securing migrant workers as a way to keep sugar beet farming costs down.

Once the sugar beets were harvested, they were hauled to local sugar refineries and processed. The Longmont Sugar Refinery was one of the largest sugar beet factories and one of the biggest businesses in Colorado.

Today, sugar beets are planted in spring, tilled in summer and harvested in autumn. Once they are harvested, they are loaded in trucks and hauled to beet dumps where they are eventually transported to various processing sites in Eastern Colorado. The sugar from this area is sold under many different brand names and shipped around the world.

At the Mead Sugar Beet Festival, you can take a wagon ride to the beet dump, read about Great Western Sugar history and future and decorate a sugar beet in at the Build-a-Beet table. Mark your calendar now and plan to attend the Mead Sugar Beet Festival on Saturday, Sept. 25, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Admission is free for children up to five, $1 for five to 10, $5 for 10-64 and $1 for 64 plus. There will be local music, rides for the kids, a sanctioned pedal tractor pull, Colorado Garden Tractor Pull, face painting, hay bale toss, skillet throw, hot off the grill food, antique tractors, live auctions, friends, family and neighbors.

The Mead Sugar Beet Festival began five years ago as a way to educate the community on the importance of sugar beet farming in our state. In the late 1800s sugar beets were introduced to our area because of the excellent growing conditions; hot dry days, low humidity and lots of sunshine meant sugar beets were sure to have high sugar content.

Once sugar beet farming became popular, the entire community prospered. German immigrants from Russia were hired to work the fields and soon they earned enough money to purchase land and farm their own fields.

General stores, feedlots, restaurants, banks and other establishments were built as people moved to the area. Coal mining provided fuel as demand for power increased, the cotton industry supplied cotton for the sugar bags, cattle and sheep farmers provided manure to add nutrients to the beet fields and sugar beet factories recycled beet pulp to feed the cattle and sheep. Railroads were brought to the area to transport the sugar beets and communities flourished.

Land values rose, populations grew, incomes surged and the state of Colorado benefited. In the mid-1950s, Weld County was the top sugar producer in the state and second in the nation. The sugar beet industry was heavily invested in teaching new farming methods, successful irrigation techniques and securing migrant workers as a way to keep sugar beet farming costs down.

Once the sugar beets were harvested, they were hauled to local sugar refineries and processed. The Longmont Sugar Refinery was one of the largest sugar beet factories and one of the biggest businesses in Colorado.

Today, sugar beets are planted in spring, tilled in summer and harvested in autumn. Once they are harvested, they are loaded in trucks and hauled to beet dumps where they are eventually transported to various processing sites in Eastern Colorado. The sugar from this area is sold under many different brand names and shipped around the world.

At the Mead Sugar Beet Festival, you can take a wagon ride to the beet dump, read about Great Western Sugar history and future and decorate a sugar beet in at the Build-a-Beet table. Mark your calendar now and plan to attend the Mead Sugar Beet Festival on Saturday, Sept. 25, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Admission is free for children up to five, $1 for five to 10, $5 for 10-64 and $1 for 64 plus. There will be local music, rides for the kids, a sanctioned pedal tractor pull, Colorado Garden Tractor Pull, face painting, hay bale toss, skillet throw, hot off the grill food, antique tractors, live auctions, friends, family and neighbors.




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The Fence Post Updated Aug 14, 2012 04:43PM Published Sep 20, 2010 01:39PM Copyright 2010 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.