Since I was a little kid, my mom always emphasized, "We are FARMERS, not RANCHERS!" I know what you are thinking, "Geez! What is so wrong with ranching?", but hear me out. Both groups of people are vital to humanity and we need all of them, and actually, we need even more of them if we want to feed a growing population. Farmers are a special kind of human though, and they deserve a big thank you!

They put in long hours. When it is harvest time, harvesting is the only thing they focus on. The same goes when it is time for planting and fertilizer applications. They have a small window of opportunity to work. Farmers are willing to sacrifice sleep to make sure they get everything done. Sometimes, they have to put work above family but somehow, they will make it up. It might be hard to not see them often, but there are ways to remedy this- being willing to hop in a tractor, pick up a shovel, or do anything to help and spend extra time with them. They will certainly notice and appreciate your help.

Farmers have to wear multiple hats. They are plant scientists; they know what kinds of nutrients their plants require. They keep track of what so many different nutrients do in plants. They are mechanics; give them a piece of equipment to fix and -BOOM!- with a little ingenuity, a few Google searches, and a determination to not give up, they will have it up and running in no time. Additionally, they magically know exactly what to do in the shop when it comes to equipment repairs. Farmers also are irrigation specialists. Drip systems, center pivots, flooding, and gated pipes- farmers know it all and make sure all their crops receive the water they need. Farmers also are always looking for new ways to improve efficiency.

Farmers are the ultimate environmentalists. They care for the land they work, they care about the water they need, and they care about the critters and insects that are on the farm. Without land and water, farmers cannot do their job and they value this opportunity to care for the land. They get attached to the critters that happen across their farm. When they see turkeys or pheasants on their land, they get excited. They love seeing the wildlife being happy and healthy. Not many other professions get to see the beauty of ecosystems quite like the way that farmers do.

Not only do they have to work with the environment, but they also have to dance with the weather. They have to wait for the perfect weather to plant and they have to be patient and OK when the weather does not cooperate. Although it tests them and may make them a little grumpy, overall they understand "it is what it is" mentality.

There is no way to fully explain the job of a farmer, and showing them full appreciation is even harder. How does one thank all of them in a way they deserve? After all, they feed and clothe everyone. This is no small feat. For all they do when it comes to caring, environmental stewardship, and the abundance of skill sets, we say thank you!