Farmers come in all different shapes and sizes. They are 18-year-olds fresh out of college, and they are 80 year olds sitting in Hardee's with their morning biscuits and gravy. Farmers are men wearing overalls and women with messy ponytails. It's easy to judge them or get frustrated when they crowd McDonald's during your lunch hour, or you get behind them on the road, but I urge you to do the complete opposite. Thank a farmer.

The average farmer is in a constant state of stress. When an animal gets sick, they stress. When there's not enough rain, they stress. When milk prices go down, they stress. There is no reliability in their job. Their next paycheck depends on the weather, the economy and luck. Saving for retirement is almost impossible, and many never retire. The average consumer would be shocked at how little a farmer makes, as middle men suck up most of the profits. Farmers work from sun up to sun down just to break even, and they do it with their head held high.

These rural men and women are some of the most active community members you will ever meet. They are Farm Bureau members, FFA Alumni, 4-H leaders and church volunteers. They host farm tours for grade schoolers, and do their best to educate wherever they go. You'll see them as proud parents at soccer games and excited grandparents at high school graduations. They work on school boards and many go on to hold rural political offices. Their hard work in the fields spills over into their communities. A farmer knows you can't take from the land forever; you have to give back to gain anything.

Despite all these things, farmers are hated by a lot of people. We are constantly debated with about GMO's, antibiotics, factory farming, organic foods, pesticide use and humane animal treatment. Don't get me wrong, farmers want to put out healthy food. They eat it, too. The food they produce gets fed to their children, as well. However, outside of our small communities, no one trusts their judgement. Little do many people know, farmers hold college degrees and have been educated on the latest agricultural technology for their whole lives. Farming is the art of feeding people who think you're trying to kill them for minimum wages.

Next time you see that little old farmer drinking his coffee, don't think of him as racist, close-minded, uneducated and out of touch with the rest of the world. Farmers are people with their own life stories and struggles. Their job is their way of life. That farmer isn't working to just support his family. He works to feed the world. So next time you see a farmer, be sure to thank him. Don't belittle a farmer. Thank a farmer.