By Julie Tomascik

Calloused hands and patches on his britches. Sun-kissed skin and mud on her boots. A tractor, cows and corn popping up in rows.

He’s just a farmer. And so is she.

Those three words put what they do in the simplest terms. But it’s so much more.

Farming and ranching is a lifestyle. A labor of love. It’s the roots that hold a family legacy, brings communities together and fuels the world economy.

It takes all kinds of kinds. And their skills are many.

Because their job description changes daily. And it’s always subject to the weather.

With each new day comes new challenges and new opportunities. To learn, teach and grow. Because there’s more going on than just farming and ranching.

He’s a truck driver, mechanic and welder. He drives a tractor in the morning and a truck and trailer in the evening. In between, there’s repairs and taking care of routine maintenance.

Yet he’s just a farmer.

She takes care of the land for future generations. An environmentalist who thinks about leaving the land better than how she found it. She’s an agronomist, using science and math to calculate fertilizer, determine seed rates and select the best crop variety for her farm.

Yet she’s just a farmer.

He eyes the clouds and listens to the wind. He watches his livestock and the wildlife, looking for signs of changes in the weather. His radar is his best friend. He’s a meteorologist without all the bells and whistles in a television studio.

Yet he’s just a farmer.

She writes a column for the local newspaper. She trades in her farm clothes for professional attire and takes on Capitol Hill. She understands legislation and the impact of that policy on her farm.

Yet she’s just a farmer.

They counsel the next generation. Answer questions. And help solve problems. They understand the seeds they sow can grow relationships, foster understanding and cultivate a brighter tomorrow.

Yet they’re just farmers.

He will be late to holiday events. She won’t be able to RSVP for a wedding without checking the weather. Because they have to make sure the crops are growing and the cows are fed.

Yet they’re just farmers.

They have the experience and knowledge to feed a growing population. They’re passionate. They’re strong. Determined. It’s their continued perseverance in the face of adversity to provide for their families and urban neighbors. They make farming and ranching a noble profession.

Their love for the land and growing things is innate. And strong.

If that’s “just a farmer,” then I’m proud to know a bunch of them in Texas.