By Julie Tomascik

Christmas is just around the corner. Santa is making his list, and checking it twice, of course.

And farmers and ranchers are checking their Christmas lists, too. You know the ones where they ask Santa for things like…

Good weather

Out in the field, there arose such a clatter. Rain drops are dancing, touching down with a splatter.

As much of Texas ends the year in drought, many farmers and ranchers are wishing for a nice mix of timely rains and sunshine. No tornadoes or hurricanes. Basically asking to be on Mother Nature’s good side next year.

That shouldn’t be too difficult for Santa to fulfill. We hope.

Healthy livestock

The water is filled. The animals are fed. The livestock are healthy, content under their shed.

Healthy cattle, sheep, goats, chickens and turkeys, horses, pigs—you name it, ranchers want their livestock to stay healthy year-round.

Affordable Fertilizer

With fertilizer prices as high as the rooftops and climbing, farmers’ and ranchers’ concerns keep rising.

Farm inputs, especially fertilizer, have soared to record highs. A series of events—from plant shutdowns to new government sanctions—hit the fertilizer market this year, putting even more strain on the farmers and ranchers who grow our food, fiber and fuel.

Market Stability

Nestled all snug in their beds, farmers and ranchers don’t have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads.

Instead, it’s charts and graphs, stocks and futures. They’re trying to determine how to make the most of their budget. They wish for market stability. That comes, in part, from addressing supply chain issues, negotiating fair trade deals and maintaining good global relationships.

That’s not too much to ask for, right?

Common-sense regulations

From the bottom of the corn field to the top of the dairy, farmers face regulations that at times are quite scary.

Only a few—less than 2 percent—are tasked with feeding a growing population amid daunting regulations. All they ask is for common-sense decisions when it comes to regulations that impact their farms and ranches.

Consumer understanding

On GMOs. On sustainability. On conservation. On yields. Farmers just want consumer understanding of what they do in their fields.

Prices fluctuate. Markets close. Regulators over regulate. It isn’t easy being in agriculture. But farmers and ranchers plant, grow and nurture year after year. Because of that, we have variety and choice on our grocery store shelves and on our plates.

Farmers and ranchers just want you to ask them questions and pull a seat up to the table to have a conversation. Because we have common ground in our food, fiber and fuel.

Rural broadband

When onto the screen a video came into focus. The buffering stopped, could it be hocus-pocus?

It is indeed very strange for internet to work consistently in parts of rural America. The internet connection is often slow or non-existent, and rural residents are left forever buffering.

The need for broadband connectivity is essential, because it helps farmers to be more sustainable and efficient with the latest technology. It allows them to implement even more economical and environmentally-friendly practices, as well as access new markets and communicate with customers.

Farmers and ranchers hope that broadband signal is soon strong for everyone.

And those miscellaneous items

Of course, green tractors, red combines and a four-wheeler make the list.  

And, as always, Texas farmers and ranchers wish for healthy families and friends, peace on Earth and goodwill to all.

I hope Santa is listening, and that each of us get what we wish for. But know that even if wishes aren’t fulfilled in the stockings hung by the chimney with care, farmers and ranchers will still be there—tending their livestock and growing their crops.

Merry Christmas to all. And to all a joyful holiday season.