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Her background as a teacher makes Dawn Buell a natural leader of kids. It’s no wonder she dedicates summers to helping them earn their tassels.
“I believe the kids who work for me are the best detasselers in the state of Nebraska,” says Dawn, the founder of a unique and aptly named teen-powered business, Not Afraid to Sweat Inc. Based in Lincoln, it specializes in corn detasseling. The toilsome task, essential to creating hybrid corn seed, is typically done during three weeks in July, mostly by machines. But human hands must pull off any tassels the machines miss.
This will be Dawn’s 14th summer of ushering 400 workers, ages 13 to 22, onto buses at 5:30 a.m. and off to fields of towering cornstalks. “The fields range from 15 to 200 acres, and I assign buses according to how many kids are needed,” she explains. “It’s like being the commander of a small military operation—sending troops out to contain the tassels.”
Country Woman Magazine, June / July 2011 Issue.
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