By Julie Tomascik

Today is National Texas Day. But if you ask any Texan, every day is National Texas Day!

It’s a day that recognizes the Lone Star State, along with its independent people and history. That includes the role of farmers and ranchers and the many businesses impacted by agriculture.

In fact, one in seven Texans has a job related to agriculture, and the economic impact of the Texas food and fiber sector totals about $100 billion.

That’s something to be proud of.

From the fields to the jobs it creates, Texas agriculture is diverse. It’s unique. And so are the farmers and ranchers who make up the industry.

But to survive in this business, they have to be tough.

They endure the demands of the field. Market swings can take their toll, and consumer opinions could leave a harvest at risk.

Then there’s the countless hours spent in the fields and pastures working the land. The sweat. Blood. A few tears. And thousands of dollars for fuel and equipment.

Yet farmers and ranchers keep going.

The work they do puts Texas first in the nation for cattle and calves, cotton, horses, sheep, goats, mohair and hay.

Some of the state’s top crops also include vegetables, wheat, citrus, peanuts, pecans, rice, corn and grain sorghum. Farmers also grow sesame, grapes, Christmas trees, pumpkins and black-eyed peas. They also raise shrimp, redfish, catfish, pigs, chickens, turkeys and more!

Texas agriculture contributes to the U.S. and global economies by exporting $7.2 billion in agricultural goods last year.

And in Texas, we fly our flag proudly. It waves in front of homes and on top of tractors. It’s painted on the sides and roofs of barns. Farmers and ranchers show their patriotism.

The Texas flag even has its own Pledge of Allegiance: “Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible.”

I’m proud to be a Texan, and I’m proud of the role our farmers and ranchers play in our great state.

To celebrate, I think I’ll enjoy a juicy steak, cold glass of milk and plenty of vegetables. All grown and raised right here in Texas!