By Shala Watson

Fresh air. Dirt roads. Old barns and breathtaking views. Texas is full of them!

You can escape the asphalt and pavement. Just take a drive down a county road. Along those rural routes, you’ll find the best kept secret in Texas—agriculture.

The diverse geography and climate of our state provide a glimpse of all types of agriculture. Fields of wheat. Canopies of corn. Clouds of white cotton scattered throughout the state. And rows of specialty crops like onions and cabbage in the Winter Garden region.

Every season has a scenic and rewarding view to offer—whether it’s time to plant, nurture the crop while it’s growing or harvest time.

Wind down a rural road and you will find pastures filled with livestock. Cattle grazing. Lambs and goats searching for forage. Horses galloping. Chickens pecking.

The East Texas Pineywoods grow big and tall. Cypress trees provide shade and a unique beauty, too. Sycamores offer seasonal colors. The pecan tree—Texas’ official state tree—grows in almost every area of the state.

Texas also leads the nation in number of farms and ranches. Rural lands total 142 million acres and 84 percent of the state’s total land area. And the economic impact of the food and fiber sector totals more than $100 billion annually in Texas.

So the next time you’re driving, keep your eyes peeled for that hidden windmill or old barn. For the corn crop growing up in rows. Or the cows grazing contentedly in the pastures.

A drive just outside of town offers the opportunity to watch nature grow and appreciate all the beauty the Lone Star State has to offer. And it’s where our food, fiber and fuel get their start.

Nothing, in my opinion, can compare to the sights and sounds rural Texas has to offer.

Do you have a favorite spot in Texas? Share it with us in the comments.