By Jayci Cave
Growing up she knew she always wanted to be involved in agriculture. It is in her blood, it is how she was raised, it is what she knows. For Ciera Ware, farming and taking care of the land is not only her profession, but her passion.
“I think one of the most important things my parents instilled in all of us kids was to do what you want to do and just run your own race,” Ware said. “That’s something my dad has always said, and to not worry about what other people are doing because at the end of the day no one else is going to live your life. You have to live your life for yourself, your family and your community and just do what you think is right. That is what I really love about farming. Since I work for myself I now have the opportunity to do what I need to do or what I want to do. I already have my dream job so I think that is something that I have been really lucky with.”
While she is living her dream today, Ware said she did not always know that farming was the path she should take.
“I knew that I wanted to be involved in the agriculture industry, but I didn’t know that I wanted to farm necessarily,” Ware said. “Once I got to Texas Tech I figured out pretty quick that I missed the plant side of things, and cotton really is my primary passion in life. So, I decided that I didn’t want to be on the sidelines with cotton, I wanted to be a farmer. I started talking to my dad about starting my own operation and he was really supportive.”
Before her last semester studying Plant and Soil Science at Texas Tech, Ware’s desire to become a farmer became a reality as she had the opportunity to rent some land and begin farming on her own. Her operation is between Ralls and Cone, Texas, and she is a member of Owens Co-op Gin. As she enters into her second crop season, she said she takes pride in caring for the land and wants to improve it as much as she can.
“I think it is important to care for the land because like everyone always says, you want to pass it on to future generations,” Ware said. “I think that with me personally I just have such a connection to the land that I don’t like seeing the land not in its ideal shape. It is so much a part of people around here that I think it is so important to see the land being taken care of in the best way possible.”
Farming is not without its challenges. Ware said two of the biggest challenges growers face today are mother nature and the increasing cost of inputs. Even with the challenges, Ware said farming is in her blood.
“I have such a connection to the land,” Ware said. “I almost think of it as a family member because it has always been there. It has always been such a huge part of how my siblings and I were raised, and I think those farms that I grew up on will always be a part of me. I hope that my kids can have the same experience where they can just have such a connection to the land and what it means to people out here.”
Her passion for farming does not stop in the field. Ware also developed a passion for telling agriculture’s story and advocating for the industry. Ware said it is important to personalize the story you are telling so people know the differences and similarities of agriculture across the country.
“I think it is important because there are so few people involved with it anymore,” Ware said. “Also, it is what I have grown up with and to be cliché, I guess it is in my blood. I think it is really important to not only advocate for the ag industry in general, but where you are from and the crop that you are growing.”
This passion led her to start her own podcast, Farming on Mars, in 2018 to specifically focus on the South Plains cotton industry and discuss topics of interest to her, Ware said.
“I really enjoy listening to podcasts in general. Then I started thinking that there wasn’t a podcast dedicated to cotton on the South Plains and that is something that I love hearing about, and I especially love hearing from farmers,” Ware said. “There are a bunch of magazines and other outlets like that where they tell farmer stories, but I guess I wanted to have it more where they were telling their own stories and to actually hear their voice and hear them tell it in their own words. I think that I come at it from a unique perspective just because of my background and what I do now.”
Ware said her podcast has evolved from the original direction she envisioned for it. Instead of the podcast features focusing solely on their operations or the industry today, she said it has morphed into an oral history podcast where many farmers tell stories and give historical records of their operation through the years.
“I think that is really cool for me because,” Ware said, “especially starting out as a farmer, I want to hear how other people have done it and kind of glean what I can learn from it, but also what maybe I can implement on my operation that some people have forgotten about.”
There is no doubt that farming is a labor of love. Ware said the biggest thing she has learned in her short time farming is the importance of faith.
“I don’t know if it is very practical advice, but you have to have a lot of faith that an opportunity is going to come up,” Ware said. “You have to have a lot of faith that it is going to work out and that the weather is going to cooperate and the markets are going to cooperate.”
Ware truly has taken her father’s advice to heart and is running her own passionate race toward her goals. Whether it be telling her story, or those of others in the cotton industry or working to nurture and grow her next crop, she does it all with a great amount of thought, pride and passion.