By Julie Tomascik

You think farming is easy?

It can seem that way from the outside looking in. Plant seeds. Watch them grow. And harvest the crop a few months later.

That’s how it works in our gardens, right?

Yes. But this is different. It’s running tractors and plows. Early mornings. Night owls. Farmers and ranchers hedging their bets that their crops and livestock will be a success.

They endure the demands of the field. Market swings can take their toll. And your consumer opinion could leave a harvest at risk.

It ain’t easy.

Then there’s the countless hours spent in the fields and pastures working the land. The sweat. Blood. A few tears. And thousands of dollars for fuel and equipment.

Yet farmers and ranchers keep going.

Even when it means spending many early mornings and late nights away from family and friends. Missing special events, like weddings, birthdays and ballgames.

And lying in bed at night, they say their prayers, too—for their family, friends and consumers like you and me. For their crops and livestock. For rain or sunshine.

Because they work for more than just themselves and carry a heavy burden. Only a few—about 1.5 percent—are tasked with feeding a growing population amid daunting regulations.

And, after all that, a paycheck isn’t waiting every two weeks.

Farming and ranching ain’t easy.

But it’s the satisfaction of a hard day’s work and of doing something for others. Fulfilling dreams. And facing the uncertainty with unwavering faith and optimism.

Farmers and ranchers are the beating heart of Texas agriculture. And our future.