By Jennifer Dorsett

Farmers and ranchers face a multitude of challenges in their operations.

Anything from broken fencing to equipment breakdowns and other mostly minor tasks that can be handled individually to natural disasters, international market collapse, trade wars and any number of large-scale happenings. You name it, it’s on their radar.

And this year, the punches just kept coming. Hurricane? Check. Drought? Yep. Extreme windstorms? You bet.

Farmers and ranchers across Texas experienced a “best hits” playlist, courtesy of Mother Nature.

Then there was COVID-19. The global pandemic is like nothing we’ve ever seen before.

Food supply chains were stretched to their limits. Many Americans, fearful of shortages, stockpiled goods, which created further supply chain tensions. Others were unable to purchase kitchen staples, such as flour or meat, for days at a time.

For the first time, many of us pondered the reality of an empty pantry or bare refrigerator.

But when the dust settles, farmers and ranchers will still be in the field, doing their chores and completing their daily workload. You know why?

Because that’s just what they do. Farmers and ranchers get up every day and get going. Like a force of nature themselves, they’re unstoppable.

Grit. Determination. Perseverance. All rooted in the same resolve I see in farmers and ranchers across the state.

Farmers and ranchers care about the land, but they also care about the people they’re raising food and fiber to feed and clothe. That includes their families, too.

This year, when I interviewed young farm and ranch families for Texas Farm Bureau’s Excellence in Agriculture and Outstanding Young Farmer & Rancher awards, they all wanted others to know the same thing:

 “We eat, wear and use what we grow and raise. We wouldn’t feed our family something we wouldn’t feed yours. We care about our land, our animals and you, our consumers.”

That’s Texas agriculture. Dependable. Honest. And hardworking. Because despite the challenges, it truly is a wonderful life.

And no matter what happens, as long as farmers and ranchers are able to work, Texas agriculture will remain.