By Julie Tomascik

It’s time to do a little trash talking, Texas. Literally.

About 435 million pieces of visible litter can be found on Texas roadways, according to the Don’t mess with Texas campaign.

That’s a lot, and that’s only the trash we can see. I’m sure there’s more out there, waiting for the next wind gust to fly uninvited down the road.

But there’s another problem. One that’s not talked about as much when it comes to our trash. And that is litter and agriculture don’t mix.

Styrofoam cups, candy wrappers and receipts don’t belong in pastures and fields. They belong in a recycle bin, or at the very least, your trash can.

Because each piece of trash puts livestock at risk. They’re curious animals and too often give whatever they come across a taste for good measure.

For me, the picturesque scene of cattle grazing in a green pasture doesn’t include a plastic grocery bag. Sheep and goats roaming the Texas plains aren’t supposed to do so alongside candy wrappers. And an empty fast food sack doesn’t complement horses galloping through a field.

But the litter is out there, posing a threat to our livestock.

I’ve seen close encounters with my own cows. A stray piece of paper was blown against the hay ring, soda cans tossed carelessly into the pasture and a plastic bag caught around the fence post. Fortunately, we saw the litter and quickly cleaned it up. Other farmers and ranchers aren’t so lucky.

And neither are wildlife.

Farmers and ranchers can’t be everywhere all the time when their office covers acres instead of feet. Some things go unseen. Some trash remains in the field.

So let’s do our part.

Texas isn’t made for trash. Don’t let it litter our roads, farms and ranches.

Let’s honor our Texas pride. Keep our roadways clean. And our state beautiful.