By Jessica Domel

About once every year or so, I convince myself I should plant a garden of my favorite fruits and vegetables at my house so I don’t have to go to the grocery store as often.

In my head, this garden is beautiful, abundant and easy to care for.

Soon after the dream, the stone cold reality of life hits.

I don’t have the time to care for all the fruits and vegetables I want to grow. I don’t have the space or the proper sun exposure.

And I hate dealing with bugs.

Even if all those things aren’t true, we still need the thousands of Texas farmers and ranchers who work day in and day out to ensure grocery stores carry our favorite foods.

In no particular order, here are 5 reasons why I believe we all need our Texas farmers and ranchers:

1.) Without them, most of us, especially those living in the cities, would lack a source of protein. I surely can’t raise cattle or chickens at my house. And I don’t have time to.

2.) Even if I could raise chickens or cows at my home, I don’t feel confident enough to ensure I’m providing them the best care on my own. Ranchers do.

3.) I can’t grow rice or soybeans at my house. I can’t grow enough corn or other crops to ensure everything pollinates appropriately. One of my family members once tried to grow a single row of corn in the backyard and it didn’t pollinate. So the ears were tiny and inedible.

4.) I love bananas. I love limes. And I love strawberries. I can’t grow these things in the soil at my home. But farmers in other parts of the state and the world can. And they can do it more efficiently than I could trying to coerce a plant that doesn’t belong in my area to produce fruit.

5.) Without cotton farmers, what would I wear? I’m certainly not going to grow and gin my own cotton. I’ll leave that to the experts.

We need farmers to grow our grains, fruits and vegetables. We need ranchers to raise cattle, chickens, swine and other valuable sources of protein that are a part of a healthy diet.

And we need their decades of experience growing the food, fuel and fiber to ensure our way of life continues.

My hats off to those men and women who dedicate their lives to farming and ranching–and also to those who love to garden and share the fruits of their labor with others. I can’t do it. And it makes me appreciate those who do.