By Julie Tomascik

Let’s talk food and farming, Texas.

We’re overwhelmed with buzzwords, marketing ploys and labels, not to mention the vast array of choices. How do we know the truth and what’s really best for us?

Organic, conventional, local, natural, GMO-free—we read the labels, but what do they really mean? As consumers, your decisions—and mine—shape our food supplies, and in turn, farming practices.

Animal welfare is another priority of consumers and Texas farmers and ranchers. From niche markets to mainstream consumer markets, ranchers in the Lone Star State play a unique role in providing a safe, nutritious product.

But some folks have questions about how that product reaches us. Should we be concerned about antibiotics and animal handling methods?

It’s hard not to Google when you’re looking for information. I get it. Who hasn’t Googled?

The answer you may not find on the internet is this:

  • The environment is important to farmers and ranchers. They are mindful of soil health and water quality all year long. Farmers use sustainable practices so the land will continue to provide for their families and yours.
  • They practice good animal husbandry, because proper animal care is responsible, and it promotes healthy land and healthy animals. It’s what ranchers do every day.
  • They’re family farmers. They’re not a faceless company. Sometimes, they’ve farmed the land for generations. Others are first-generation farmers who are building a legacy to pass down to their children.
  • Farming is a job they take seriously. A profitable farm ensures their children are well fed, clothed and enjoy the same opportunities as their friends in town.
  • Responsible antibiotic use on the farm and ranch is a safe practice. Ranchers work with a veterinarian to determine the best treatment for sick animals and to manage herd health.

No two farms in Texas are alike, and that’s okay.

Big isn’t bad, and small isn’t better.

Agriculture isn’t one-size-fits-all.

But all farmers and ranchers have one thing in common—they are good stewards of the land. Because without the land, their livelihood doesn’t exist.

So, you have food choices, right? Then, I’m sure you have questions, too. We all do.

Ask farmers. Not Google. Skip celebrities. And beware of the false information you can find online. Fact check that information your search turned up with farmers and ranchers.

You can find them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok and more.

Hear from some Texas farmers and ranchers in this video or meet some of the farmers and ranchers leaving their mark on Texas agriculture.

Let’s keep this conversation going and have farmers and ranchers be your source for all things food and farming.