By Michelle Hochstein

Hot summer night. A storm rolls in. Heavy downpours. Hail. The farmer fears the worst. And he’s right. His cotton is shredded. Another profit lost.

January. Snow on the ground. 15 degrees. A howling wind makes it feel below zero. Hammer in hand, the rancher breaks ice. The cattle have to drink.

Farming’s tough. It’s a risky business. So many things to go wrong. And so many skills to master.

So why do farmers farm? I asked that question as I watched my dad, day in and day out, leave before the sunrise and come in long after it set. I since learned there are many reasons he chose this profession.

Here are five reasons farmers, like my father, choose to farm.

They love growing things. As caretakers of the land, farmers enjoy watching crops and animals grow. Whether it’s seed to stalk or chick to hen, much care is needed. From planting and watering to harvesting, farmers put time and effort into their crops to ensure a plentiful harvest.

They enjoy working outdoors. Fresh air. Sunshine. The smell of freshly plowed dirt. The cool breeze blowing. The feeling of freedom from the confinements of an office in the city. Being able to watch animals frolic. Farmers’ “offices” are in their fields. Close to home. Close to nature.

They work for something bigger. Farmers are vital to food production. Not just in the U.S. But the world. They enjoy growing food for an expanding population. This responsibility keeps them going, even when times are tough. Check out this video about how much just one farmer can provide for the world.

They work together as a family. Family farms make up 98.6 percent of farms in Texas, according to the Texas Department of Agriculture. Parents are able to spend more time with their children, teaching them about hard work, dedication and a love for the land. These children will gain experiences and knowledge that can never be replaced.

They enjoy the independence. Don’t we all want to be our own bosses? Well farmers are. They get to decide what needs to be done every day. They make the decisions and report only to themselves. There’s nobody there to tell them what to do.

Even though it’s not always rainbows and butterflies, most farmers agree the good outweighs the bad. The work is hard. But it’s fulfilling. Farmers farm because it is something they enjoy, and farmers in Texas and across the county continue to reap the benefits every day.

Michelle Hochstein grew up on a farm in Castro County, where her family grows cotton, corn, wheat and sorghum. She is studying agricultural communications at Texas Tech University and is the Texas Farm Bureau Public Relations intern.