(Pictured are Marissa McClung and Calvin McClung)

Marissa McClung was awarded Best of Show Agronomy at the Gosper Country Fair for her report on sugar beets titled “Farm to Table”. Marissa is 11 years old and lives in Elwood, Nebraska. Her detailed report described how sugar beets are harvested, trucked to the beet pile, and later processed. Marissa comes from a long line of beet growers as the McClung Farm is a 4th generation farm. Beginning with Calhoun McClung, followed by Dan McClung, then Calvin McClung and farming today are brothers, Steve and Mike McClung. The McClung Farm was started by Calhoun McClung in 1919. Calhoun and his family immigrated from Ireland to farm and ranch in America.


The McClungs decided to grow sugar beets for Great Western in the 1920’s. As Marissa interviewed her grandfather, Calvin McClung, she learned about the hardships of harvesting beets in that time. They started with 30 acres of beets in which they thinned and hoed by hand. The beets were lifted by a team of horses pulling a single row lifter. After they had made 20 rounds, they laid them in a row by hand, all in the same direction. They then picked them up by hand and placed them in either a Model T Truck or a wagon with a team of horses which hauled the sugar beets to town. There, they were weighed, piled, and loaded onto a train.



(Pictured above: The first McClung water well that watered the sugar beets

was a gas two-cylinder motor, which came off of a light plant motor in Lewellen, Nebraska.)


In 1975, Great Western had 15 factories. Each factory awarded farmers for the High Ten contracts (whoever had the most sugar per acre). For the Ovid High Ten, Calvin McClung received awards for six years. The 10,000-pound club was a separate award that was awarded to Calvin McClung in 1975. The 10,000-pound club was dedicated to the growers who produced 10,000, ore more, pounds of sugar per acre. This was one of the most exclusive farm clubs in the nation. In 1974, Calvin McClung produced 10,214 pounds of sugar beet per acre for the Ovid District.




Marissa has taken pride in her family history, and aspires to teach her generation about sugar history and production. Her poster presentation was awarded the purple ribbon at the Nebraska State Fair this month, which is top recognition. Way to go, Marissa!