LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — For generations, detasseling has served as the first job of many young Midwesterners--but it's far from glamorous. Often times, the job involves waking up before the sun rises to catch a bus, wearing hats with nets to avoid bugs, and walking up and down rows of corn all day in the heat.
Monday morning, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts declared June 3rd as 'Detasselers’ Recognition Day' in the state, honoring the hard work more than 7,000 Nebraskans put in every summer.
"These jobs help young Nebraskans save for college and teach them the value and reward of hard work. That’s why seed corn detasseling contractors in Nebraska have waiting lists of hundreds of Nebraskans willing to work the fields," said Gov. Ricketts. "I’d like to thank detasselers for working hard to help grow Nebraska agriculture. I'd also like to thank seed corn companies, like Corteva and Syngenta, that have committed to hire Nebraskans to fill the detasseling jobs here in our state.”
Detasseling ensures the cross-pollinating process yields a pure seed by removing the tassel from the tops of corn and putting them on the ground. The job requires physical labor and can be monotonous--making trips up and down rows of corn for hours, pulling at stalks until no tassels remain.
Young people working as detasselers learn the value of hard work through their positions, gaining experience in teamwork and leadership along the way.
Not only do detasselers earn a good chunk of change during the season--it also connects residents of small towns with Nebraska's farmers, allowing more Nebraskans to build relationships with the state's top economic industry--agriculture.
While detasselers are busiest during July, crews are already out roguing fields in some locations, a press release from Gov. Ricketts says.