Documenting migrant farm workers in the Nebraska Panhandle

Felipa Gonzalez

Photos by Danielle Beebe

Felipa Gonzalez (left) is one of the few year-round workers at Thompson Seed Potato.  Her work days consist of long hours, usually more than 12, of being on her feet and doing repetitive work hand-cutting large potatoes missed by the machine.  Gonzalez is now the sole bread-winner for her family after her husband, Jose, crushed three discs in his back in an accident when he also worked at Thompson Seed Potato.

Gonzalez and the other workers are currently cutting the seed potatoes to be planted for the summer crop.  When the cutting is finished at the end of May, there will be no work for many of those employed by Thompson Seed Potato as the potatoes grow over the summer.  Gonzalez, however, has earned a position cleaning and doing various jobs until the harvest begins in September.

In the past, Gonzalez and others would use their time off  in the summer to work in the beet fields.  However, since the use of Roundup Ready sugar beet seeds, work in the fields has become scarce.

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