Smith County Extension Agent
Agriculture is life. Agriculture touches all our lives daily. From the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the structures we use to provide shelter, agriculture is all around us. Texas farmers and ranchers work daily to produce a source of good, wholesome food for all of us locally, nationally and internationally.
Technology is not a negative in food production. By using technology and research, our farmers and ranchers can produce a safe food supply today that is also environmentally friendly using less water, less fuel, fewer pesticides and higher yields. Technology does not take away from sustainability but enhances it.
Ask a farmer or rancher to see his or her hands. In many cases, you will see lines and scars from the labor of love — the love of agriculture. While these farmers and ranchers will not boast about what they do, many will tell you about their farm, their livestock, their family and their rich heritage of producing agriculture commodities passed down from generation to generation.
Farming and ranching are professions in which you do not get days off for bad weather and they usually do not have set hours. Many farmers and ranchers work long hours from sunrise to sunset and do not stop just because it is raining or a holiday. Farmers and ranchers are stewards of the land. They take care of their land, livestock and crops. They also deal with drought, insects, floods and other conditions to produce the food we eat. Farmers and ranchers are a resilient bunch working with whatever tools or conditions to produce our food.
The Texas Food Connection Week is not only about the farmer or rancher, but about the consumer. Without the consumer purchasing fruit, vegetables, meats and other agriculture commodities, where would the farmer or rancher market their goods? There is a symbiotic relationship between farmers, ranchers and the consumers who purchase their goods. Consumers purchase these goods because they are nutritional, taste good and they have preferences when going shopping.
This week, take time to reflect on where your food comes from. If possible, think about the long hours the farmer and rancher puts in to ensure we have a safe, wholesome food supply. Farmers and ranchers can also take the time to reflect on the numerous families feasting on their goods produced on the farm.
Extension programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.