Documenting migrant farm workers in the Nebraska Panhandle

A Family Business

Photos by Alex Matzke

Santos Gomez began driving truck as the need for agricultural field labor diminished. First encouraged by the farmers he had previously worked for. Later, when the local farmers co-op began to give him more traffic, he was able to expand his business.

Eddie the youngest of the Gomez boys at 20, learns the ins and outs of trucking from his father. On breaks from college at Chadron State, in Chadron, Neb., Eddie takes the lead in the fleet’s fastest truck.

Estimating fuel needs is another aspect of Eddie’s job. Like car racing, stopping for fuel can put you behind the rest of the pack, impacting your final delivery and the length of your workday.

Hauling one load of grain takes a few hours. The last 30 mile stretch of road, Hay-Springs to the co-op in Hemingford, Neb., is the most grueling. A straight shot without much to look at, Eddie’s older brother will sometimes call to make sure he isn’t getting drowsy.

Long days characterize this work, similar to that of the migrant labor the family used to preform. Their morning begins at 4:30am and ends around 6pm when, on average, four hauls per driver have been completed.

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