By Julie Tomascik

Misting rain, sleet, snow and ice. It’s agriculture’s frenemy. You know, friend and enemy.

And this year’s Texas snowpocalypse was no exception.

We need the moisture for crops and pastures to grow this spring—the friendly part that comes from the snowy mess. But it makes a tough enemy, increasing the difficulty of chores on farms and ranches. Not to mention the increased risk of catching pneumonia.

Ready or not, snowpocalypse 2015 came and hasn’t quite left.

Those freezing temperatures, spine-chilling winds and slopping mud wreak havoc on daily chores. Taking more hours than usual to complete those tasks.

During the winter, you’ll find farmers and ranchers braving the elements to…

  • Break ice in tanks and water troughs. Sometimes multiple times a day. Because livestock need access to fresh water. But they can’t break the ice.
  • Put out hay and feed. Ranchers can unroll round bales on top of snow and ice for bedding and feed. Range cubes, liquid feed and alfalfa also provide extra protein to help livestock maintain appropriate body temperatures.
  • Check on livestock. Especially those close to term—a critical time in livestock production. Ranchers make more frequent trips into the pasture to keep a closer eye on expecting mothers and newborns.
  • Monitor crops. Some farmers planted corn before the massive cold spell hit. Now, they’re making trips to the field, hoping the late freeze didn’t kill the plant before it had a chance to grow.

Harsh winters are tough on everyone—you and me, farmers and ranchers, livestock and crops.

But farmers and ranchers aren’t afraid of a little—or a lot—snow and ice. They’ll brave the bitter conditions to get the job done.