Fire. Floods. Drought. Cold.

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No, it’s not the proverbial “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” It only feels that way for many of our nation’s farmers.

Extreme drought and wildfires have ravaged much of Texas, Oklahoma and western Kansas. Meanwhile, southern farmers are battling the flood waters of the mighty Mississippi. Our neighbors to the north are waiting with growing impatience for spring temperatures to warm the soil.

I really don’t know how farmers do it. The drought that’s lingering in Texas and the Plains is very nearly as bad as the Dust Bowl days. Broken levees along the Mississippi River have covered farmland with silt and sand that could make the land useless for years. And cool temperatures delay northern crops and make them less productive.

Farmers and ranchers spend a lot of time planning. Planning for rising fuel and fertilizer costs. Planning how to responsibly manage the land they live and farm on. Planning the best way to feed a hungry world. But all the planning in the world doesn’t protect you from Mother Nature’s whimsy.

Those of us with indoor jobs don’t really have to worry much about the weather aside from checking to see if we’ll need a coat or an umbrella as we head out the door.

What if a rainy day meant you couldn’t make that mandatory meeting? What if a surprise, late-spring cold snap meant you missed that big deal that was going to put your company on the map? What if a year with little or no rain meant your boss had to lay you off?

Kind of makes you think, doesn’t it? And it’s a little scary.

But it’s what our farmers and ranchers deal with every day.

So, if you’re grumbling while driving to work in the rain, or sighing with irritation as you water your yard yet again, give a thought to a farmer. And be thankful your livelihood doesn’t depend on the weather.

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