Thank You to Our Farmers and Ranchers

CRAIG COOK Chief Executive Officer
Chief Executive Officer

There are many ways this year’s pandemic is going to change the way America thinks about things. One of those ways, I hope, is that we remember those who keep our society running.

Last issue, I outlined how broadband has provided an essential service during the pandemic for the millions of people who’ve had to adjust to working or attending school online. But in this issue, we’re focusing on something even more essential: the farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers who put food on our tables, lumber in our houses and clothes on our backs.

A steady supply of food and other agricultural products at the store is something that many Americans frequently took for granted. But the spiking demand and supply chain disruptions this year have made me appreciate when there is chicken in the meat case, fresh vegetables in the produce department and stocked shelves on the paper products aisle.

I think our nation’s farmers — including those right here in Texas — have become some of the most underappreciated but absolutely critical people in this country. So in light of that, I want to take this space to say thank you.

Thanks to the dairy workers for getting up early for milking. Thanks to the row crop farmers for long days of plowing, planting and harvesting. Thank you to all the fruit growers and pickers in the orchards. A sincere thank you to those raising and butchering our beef, poultry and pork. Thank you to all of those growing and cutting timber. Thank you to all of the beekeepers tending to their hives, the hay farmers storing their bales, the egg farmers in their chicken houses and the grape growers in their vineyards. Thank you to all of the extension agents who help share knowledge between all of those groups.

Whether they’re producing beef or beans, cotton or canola, pumpkins or peanuts, our agricultural producers deserve our appreciation.

Every growing season they risk their financial future, and must pray for the right weather and good yields. But they’re also adapting to changing demands and industry trends.

For anyone who hasn’t been out on a farm lately, you might be surprised to find how much technology is in the fields and barns. Farmers use sensors to check soil and moisture conditions, watch temperatures in chicken houses, monitor levels of chemicals in their tanks, and use broadband to order seeds and parts, keep up with commodity prices and find new markets to sell their products.

In this issue, we’re happy to highlight the hard work farmers put in to keep America moving and the growing role technology plays in helping their operations run smoothly. It’s important to remember that many of the founders of our cooperative were producers who realized the need for telephone technology, just as they appreciate the need for broadband today.

I’m thankful for all of the members of our local agriculture community and proud to still be their technology partner.