By Julie Tomascik

’Tis the season of giving. The season to be thankful. And a time of reflection.

The Thanksgiving holiday means many things to many folks. Oftentimes, those link back to agriculture and the farm and ranch families—like those in the Lone Star State.

They care for Mother Nature’s most precious resources. Consider the risks farmers and ranchers must face. The blood, sweat and hardship. The long hours. But also remember their spirit, passion and love.

As we embark upon the holidays, I find myself reflecting on the top 5 reasons I’m thankful for agriculture.

5. The food on our tables. And not just the Thanksgiving turkey, but all year long. We have the security of a plentiful food supply because of our farmers, ranchers and modern agricultural practices—like science, biotechnology, conservation practices and more.

4. Abundant choices. Because there’s local, organic, conventional and all-natural. Grain-finished, grass-finished and more. Each aisle offers something different for us to choose.

3. Freedom. To be anything we want—teachers, doctors, lawyers, musicians—whatever we’re passionate about. Because just 2 percent of the nation chooses to work the land. Sustainably. So we don’t have to.

2. Jobs. Jobs. And more jobs. One in seven working Texans has a job related to agriculture.

1. Meaningful relationships. With farm and ranch families. Online networks. Neighbors and friends. Agriculture brings us together wherever we are.

This Thanksgiving, slow down, reflect and give thanks for more than just the turkey. Remember our farmers and ranchers. But also remember the food safety and service employees, those who work in transportation, teachers, our military and so many others.

It’s a season to be thankful for each other.

A version of this blog originally ran Nov. 22, 2016.