Sugar Producer

November/December 2015

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Page 14 of 31 15 a small woman but she ran the horse and plow on the farm. Ralph started growing sugarbeets, and in his time, beet stock was selling for $100 per share." Ralph Adams retired in the late 1970s, and Steve's father Darrell Adams carried on the family farm. "Darrell received the 'High Sugar Producer' award for 1973 from the American Crystal Sugar Company for the East Grand Forks factory area. He produced 6,747 pounds of sugar per acre that year," Steve said. "He really expanded the operation but had to downsize in the '80s. Interest prices went up and farming prices were down. There were about 2,500 acres when I took over the farm in the mid-80s, and we eventually expanded from there. It was dry beans and wheat when I started and I got back into sugarbeets in 1998." Staying current Steve, who grew up helping Darrell on the family farm, has seen many changes over the years. "The equipment is bigger and then there has been the advent of GPS in agriculture," he said. "There is also more mechanization and better varieties and chemicals." The Adams strive to embrace change and continue moving forward by implementing new technology, practices and perspectives into their operation. "We are working hard to take our operation from being a family farm to a business," Steve said. "We have gone from being one entity to having several. In addition to the farm, we also have a commercial snow removal business that my father Darrell started, and we are currently researching international trade opportunities for specialty beans." According to his parents, technology is the main thing that Chris has brought to the table since he joined the operation. "He stays up on technology and looks for new ways to use it," Steve said. "He got iPads for the farm employees in order to better manage farm data, and he is also working on a farm website and Facebook page." The family wants to use the website and social media to connect with and educate the American public about farming, according to Chris. "There is so much that people from non- agricultural backgrounds don't realize about farming," he said. "It's our responsibility to talk with them and show them what we do and the risks we take as farmers." Kelsey joked that she would like the American consumer public to know that Chris does not wear bib overalls. "I was a city girl," she said. "When we first got married, I had no idea about what farming was like and the long hours involved. My high school friends tease me about marrying a farmer and think that he does wear overalls. They have no idea how it actually is here." Harvest time The family said they are looking forward to another successful sugarbeet harvest this fall. "This season's planting was a month earlier than last year, and it was dry," said Chris. "We had a couple of fields where we were planting in dust and those are the lightest stands we have. Rains came at the perfect times, like we ordered them off a menu. One big storm could change it all though." The Adams operate 24-hour shifts and run two 12-row lifters and 12-to-14 trucks. They haul the majority of their sugarbeets to piling sites at East Grand Forks, Minn., and Reynolds, N.D. Their typical haul distance is between 10 and 12 miles. "The sugarbeets are looking good," Steve said. "There is a big crop, and we're expecting a good yield." Darla said that while there will continue to be challenges such as the rising costs of technology and production, the family looks to the future with optimism. "Steve and I started so young, and there was a lot of fear of failure at first," Darla said. "It has been wonderful to watch Steve thrive in something that he loves to do. We are also thankful to have been able to lay a good foundation for the future for our family and to establish opportunities in farming for Chris and Kelsey." Challenges often bring opportunities and the Adams say they strive to make the most of those moments when they arise. "It's never too late to do the things you want to do," said Darla. n ALL SMILES Kelsey and Chris Adams, holding their daughter Olivia, pose with Steve and Darla Adams in front of their beet field in Grand Forks, N.D. RAISING BEETS Chris and Steve Adams bracket the family sign of their operation.

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