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A couple weeks ago, Ariana Brocious and I were reporting on sugar beets in the western Nebraska panhandle. We packed several interviews into two days talking with large-scale farmers and small-scale farmers, irrigation district managers and natural resource managers.

It’s amazing how much there is to know about water policy and the effects humans have had on the land. I’m still very much a kid, and to me water policy and management can be a bit dry. So when I was invited to ride along during a sugar beet harvest you can imagine how jazzed I was. The beet harvester in the video above is the ROPA Tiger, and it’s enormous.

Not all sugar beet farmers use this monster of a machine to harvest. The farmer who owns the ROPA Tiger explained that there are only four of these harvesters in Nebraska and maybe 30 in the whole country.

Working for PBT I’m constantly learning. I never knew that Nebraska grew sugar beets until recently. According to the USDA 2012 agriculture census, Nebraska ranks fifth in the country for harvested acres of sugar beets.

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