By Jessica Domel

At the county fair, coffee shop or in the field, Texas farmers are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. They’ll shake your hand, look you in the eye and share their story with you. But what if talking “agriculture” seems a bit intimidating?

Here are a few tips to get the ball rolling:

1) Talk about the weather. Farmers are at the mercy of Mother Nature year-round. Whether we’re getting too much rain or too little, chances are it’s affecting a farmer.

2) Ask what he/she grows. Whether it’s wheat, corn, cotton, grain sorghum or something else, farmers usually love to talk about their crops. Ask how it’s looking. Is this a good year or a bad year?

3) Ask why he/she farms. Whenever I’m talking to farmers, I always ask this question. We receive the best answers. Everyone farms for a different reason, but the most popular answer is passion. It’s fun to hear about farmers’ love for their land and crops. Maybe he/she will tell you their story. Chances are, it’s a good one.

Talking to farmers is a great way to meet the people around you and learn about what they do. It’s also a terrific opportunity to learn more about agriculture and what’s grown in your community.

Although I grew up on our family’s farm, I learn something new every time I talk to a farmer, even if they farm in the same area.

Everyone has a story to tell. And everyone has something they’re willing to share with you.

So go ahead. Take a chance. Strike up a conversation with the farming community around you.

You never know what you’ll find.