The Roundup -

By Lois Kerr 

Women An Integral Part Of Hardy Operation

 


Sherri Hardy, Fairview, snapped the photo which won The Roundup’s Women in Agriculture photo contest. As the picture demonstrates, women play an important role on the Hardy farm, particularly during harvest. Hardy explains that family and friends of both sexes all chip in to help out during the busy sugarbeet season. Without women, the Hardys would have a difficult time completing harvest.

“We draw from family, friends and retired people to complete harvest,” explains Hardy. “My sister is a flight attendant and she takes the month of October off to help drive and to clean up the labor houses after harvest. My mother comes from Missouri and cooks, cleans, does the laundry and goes for parts. My mother-in-law runs from field to field and marks the entrances and exits and the culverts, and she also marks the bad turns on the road with cones and flags so truck drivers know where to go. My brother-in-law is a pilot but he takes the month off to help, my dad drives, and nieces and nephews all help.”

She continues, “We have three daughters and they all take part in the operation. They drive tractor and haul barley and irrigate all summer, doing what needs done. Our oldest daughter attends the University of Mary and she came home three weekends in October to help with harvest, and two of those weekends she brought friends home with her to help. It would be a lot more difficult to farm without the assistance of women and our daughters. Everyone plays a part, and everyone knows what they have to do to get the job done.”

Life gets quite hectic when sugarbeet harvest arrives. Hardy hires the truck drivers while her husband, Dave, hires the field crews. Hardy will hire women drivers whenever possible. “We have ten trucks on the road 24 hours a day during sugarbeet harvest,” she remarks. “We need a lot of drivers. I generally hire 20-22 drivers, depending on who can do what. Usually I hire six or seven women every year. Women drivers tend to be more cautious and careful, so if a woman can drive and wants to work, I hire her.”

This year, as the photograph points out, the Hardys did have a tip-over accident and yes, a qualified woman with a CDL was driving, but the accident was not her fault, and fortunately no one got hurt. “This wasn’t our first-ever accident,” Hardy comments. “The accident happened about a half mile from the Snowden Bridge, and that road is very narrow and washboardy with a lot of blind curves. We’ve lost three trucks in that half mile stretch.”

She adds, “This year that road flooded in the spring and was impassible for awhile. There are still soft spots in that portion of road, plus some people in the Valley don’t understand big trucks and bad roads.”

Hardy’s driver rounded a blind curve to find a pickup traveling in the middle of the road. The pickup failed to move over, so Hardy’s driver had few options. “The pickup didn’t get over,” Hardy says. “Our driver could either have hit the pickup or hit the ditch, so she chose the ditch. The sides of that road just suck you in, there was a small incline in the ditch, and it caught the truck and laid it over. Thank goodness no one was hurt.”

Once again, women took care of the problem of the tipped truck and spilled beets. “I ran the loader and scooped up beets, and the crew helped,” Hardy concludes. “We off-loaded the beets onto another truck, and we had to pick up the last few bucket loads by hand.”

 

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