By Julie Tomascik

Single digits for some Texans. Negative temperatures for others. Either way you look at it, it’s flat-out cold.

The bone-chilling winds, the stinging cold and the snow and ice are not exactly what we’re used to in the Lone Star State.

It’s a blizzard, and not one we ordered from Dairy Queen. 

But this winter storm of a lifetime has showed us the strength and unwavering dedication of farmers and ranchers.

They’re working long hours in the cold to make sure cattle have enough to eat.

They’re breaking ice in water troughs and tanks multiple times a day so livestock have access to water.

They’re keeping the flock fed and preparing for more cold days and nights ahead.

But it’s not just ranchers battling Mother Nature. Farmers, especially those in the Rio Grande Valley, are facing temperatures that we haven’t seen in decades.

The Rio Grande Valley is like a salad bowl. The area is home to about 35 different fruits and vegetables, including citrus like the tree pictured above. When the temperatures drop below freezing, it can be devastating to crops that aren’t supposed to be exposed to this kind of cold.

The evenings right now are somber.

For farmers and ranchers, a lack of electricity means even more problems. Without electricity, wells won’t run. It’s tougher to warm up newborn calves, lambs and goats without heat lamps and warm sheds. And it’s difficult to keep poultry houses heated.

And while many look outside and see an opportunity for sledding and having fun in this winter wonderland, farmers and ranchers see a few extra obstacles.

This winter storm is mentally and physically exhausting. It’s taking a toll. The exhaustion is real. 

But Texas farmers and ranchers have weathered their fair share of storms. They will do so again.

Farming and ranching is what they know. It’s what they love. It’s in their blood and, for many, a family tradition.

And although this week still has many challenges remaining, they have hope. Hope that the sun will shine once again and the rest of the year will be better.