By Julie Vrazel

Farming and ranching is no easy task, just ask any of us. But it’s especially tough for the younger generation who is trying to make a living off the land.

My fiancé and I are getting ready to take the plunge–our first land purchase, that is–to plant our roots in Texas agriculture. But it seems we encounter obstacles at every turn. And we’re not alone.

This weekend the annual Texas Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher (YF&R) Leadership Conference was held in Frisco. We had the chance to sit down and talk with other young men and women across the Lone Star State who have faced, or are facing, similar challenges.

Below is a list of some of the challenges that were shared by all.

10. Living in a rural setting means we don’t experience the conveniences of urban America. Trips to the grocery store take extensive planning because the store isn’t right around the corner.
9. Establishing a farm or ranch takes longer than an eight hour work day. Add in extra time for us to play an active role in agricultural organizations, along with family duties, and 24 hours isn’t enough time to accomplish everything.
8. Increased regulations add burden to an inherently difficult job.
7. Lack of a skilled workforce decreases productivity and efficiency.
6. Ever-changing consumer demand keeps farmers guessing.
5. Financing both your way of life and your business adds significant stress.
4. Risk is a part of any business, but you can guarantee Mother Nature will always throw you a curve ball.
3. Lack of land is an all too real challenge farmers and ranchers face, while subdivisions and shopping malls are abundant.
2. The land that is available is expensive, and so is the equipment needed to work the land.
1. It’s a tough lifestyle with long hours and inconsistent income that very few want to take on.

But we–the younger generation–are willing to face these challenges, and many more, to grow our food, fuel and fiber.

It’s not an easy lifestyle, but it’s one that we are passionate about and it’s the way of life that raised us. We wouldn’t have it any other way.