By Jessica Domel
Coming from a farm family, I often think about the many skills I learned while on the farm. It made me think, “What does it take to be a farmer?”
1) Farmers have to be scientists. They have to know if a particular crop will do well in the soil they’re working with. They need to know what will happen if there’s too much water or not enough of a specific nutrient.
2) They also have to be mathematicians. They have to determine how many seeds to drop per row, per field, per acre for optimum yields. Everything they apply to that crop then requires careful calculation to ensure the crop is getting exactly what it needs.
3) Farmers have to be mechanics. It seems like something breaks down at our farm every other day. Other times, it’s as simple as tightening a bolt. Sometimes it requires a full day’s work in the shop. You never know what the day will bring, but one thing is for certain–tools don’t often sit unused.
4) They have to be willing to adapt and learn. If there’s anything I’ve noticed over the past decade in farming, it’s that nothing stays the same. Technology changes every year. So does machinery. Even the seeds farmers plant change almost every year. If they don’t adapt and learn, they don’t thrive. And then we don’t have the food, fiber and fuel we need.
5) Farmers have to have faith. There’s something to be said for putting seeds in the soil, caring for them and then waiting to see what Mother Nature and the markets throw at you. That requires faith, hope and a drive to feed your livestock and the people around you. If you ask me, that’s a very special skill.
Those are just a few of the many traits our Texas farmers have. There’s many, many more. After all, like you and me, every farmer is different. That’s what makes Texas agriculture so special.