By Julie Vrazel

A short drive to the outskirts of town can lead you to a whole new world. Highways and paved roads turn to gravel, lined with fields full of wheat, corn, soybeans and more.

Wheat is turning a golden color and corn is rapidly reaching for the sky—signs that summer is fast approaching. And you’re sure to see farmers checking those crops in the fields. Because, you see, farmers are gardeners. Just on a bigger scale.

Just as you water your garden, some farmers rely on irrigation to help their crops grow. Other farmers rely solely on the chance of rain.

Backyard gardeners turn leaves over, watching for aphids and other pests. Farmers are constantly on the lookout, too. Pests can ruin a crop—no matter how large or how small.

It’s fairly easy to pull weeds in backyard gardens. But when your field is the size of a subdivision, pulling weeds by hand isn’t feasible. So, farmers use technology and training to apply the appropriate amount of herbicides.

Homeowners and gardeners take pride in the curb appeal of their yards, just as ranchers take pride in the forages on their range. But ranchers need a field full of grass to grow their livestock. Cattle and sheep graze the land throughout the year, and when the livestock are too few, the grass is harvested and stored for tough times.

Goals may be different, but the fundamentals are the same. And they all pray for rain to grow the crops in their gardens.