However, this mindset severely glosses over the challenging lives that ranchers and farmers experience. Most of the time, their days start at sunrise (or before, in some instances) and last well into the late afternoon or evening hours. For farmers, there’s often back-breaking manual labor when harvesting produce, constant worry about the weather and rainfall, and a seemingly never-ending list of fields that need to be plowed, planted, weeded, fertilized and rotated to keep the crops from ruining the soil. There are myriad decisions to be made daily, such as how much fertilizer to use for which crop, when to plant seed, which type of seeds to choose, when is the best time to harvest, how to avoid a crop-killing freeze and much more.
For ranchers, there’s feeding, watering, repairing fences, vaccinating animals, and rotating fields to keep livestock from ruining the land by eating all the natural grass. Add in the stresses of running a business from these efforts (marketing, packaging, filing taxes, distributing and more are all tasks that still exist for farmers and ranchers, since they’re essentially their own small business), and you’ve got a recipe for very long, grueling hours of work. To make it even more taxing, most of these tasks must be performed seven days a week. You can’t just ignore the crops or livestock because it’s Saturday when you’re a farmer or rancher.
To say the least, these jobs are tedious and labor-intensive, and practically require a passion for the lifestyle since it’s not a life of luxury and leisure. There are long days, lots of potential pitfalls, and a reliance on Texas weather to cooperate, which it seemingly seldom does. Just this year, for example, farmers and ranchers have been hit with one of the worst droughts in recent memory, which puts even more strain on them to irrigate crops and feed and water livestock. Mix that in with rising fuel and transportation costs to get their goods to market, and the margins for those who fuel our food supply have gotten dangerously thin.