Left: Part of the 2010 Harvest Festival crowd enjoyed riding on a trailer behind a two-row John Deere as it dug beets from the museum’s demonstration area
The Red River Valley Sugarbeet Museum at Crookston, Minn., drew a nice crowd to its 6th annual Harvest Festival on a sunny Sunday afternoon in mid-September. Along with numerous stationary exhibits of old-time sugarbeet production and harvesting equipment, the event featured the actual digging of beets with harvesters of an earlier era.
This year’s festival paid special tribute to the Driscoll family (photo below), longtime beet growers from the East Grand Forks, Minn., area.
The Red River Valley Sugarbeet Museum, founded in 2004, is governed by a board largely comprised of current and retired beet growers. Its main mission is to collect, display and demonstrate sugarbeet and other agrelated equipment and memorabilia. To learn more about the museum, log on to www.sugarbeetmuseum.com
Above: A restored 1951 John Deere Model 200 beet harvester sits in front of “The Harris” wagon box. The Harris, which held about 80 bushels of grain, was also used to haul beets to piling stations.
Below: The James Driscoll family was honored by the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Museum this fall. James began raising sugarbeets near East Grand Forks, Minn., in the mid-1920s — a time when everything was done by hand, including the topping and the loading on to wagons with a fork. His two sons, Leonard and Jack, continued to raise the crop, delivering them to the then-American Beet Company, which later became American Crystal Sugar Company. Leonard’s sons — Ray, Keith and Jerry — and Jack’s sons — Paul and Dan — have done the same. Plaques were presented to the families of James’ grandsons and their families, honoring them for “continued dedication and leadership to the sugarbeet industry.” The museum’s board also presented a surprise “Founders Award” to Roger Odegaard and Allan Dragseth. The plaques, made by Glen Finkenbinder, were cut in the shape of a sugarbeet and read, “In recognition of your Exemplary Contribution to the Establishment and Ongoing Operation of the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Museum.” Dragseth and Odegaard have been instrumental in the startup and operation of the Crookston, Minn., sugarbeet museum.
Editor & General Manager of The Sugarbeet Grower