Neumans began farming here at the end of World War II era

These days, Lyndell Neuman is the only major peanut farmer left in Devine that we know of, but that’s no reflection on the price of peanuts, which has gone up. Peanuts haven’t gone out of style, “not yet anyway,” he says with a laugh. In fact, peanut farms are growing in areas like Pleasanton. The Devine area was once known for its peanut farms, as the sandy soil around here is ideal for peanut-growers.
Neuman is a second generation farmer, taking after his daddy and uncle who first began farming here. Today, he farms around 175 acres of peanuts and 90 acres of other crops.
“Peanuts and watermelon used to be really big around here because it’s real sandy,” Neuman said. “My dad Clyde Neuman and his brother Floyd started farming this land after World War II. They farmed it together. I grew up with it.”
He notes farming has changed a lot over the years, and is more automated and less labor-intensive.
“We used to have to water with the old hand lines, and we’d have lots of high school kids out here working. Now we have center pivots, so it’s a lot less labor-intensive these days,” Neuman said. “The price of peanuts is always a moving target. There was a time a few years ago when you had to make a real good crop to even break even, but the price has gone up, compared to years ago. Farming and raising cattle is still a viable business, especially if you diversify (farming and ranching) or have a family farm or land for grazing in the family.”
“If you decide to do it, give it all you got—because that’s what it takes,” Neuman said, when asked what advice he has for young farmers. “And if you can find someone successful at it, it’s always helpful to get their advice when you’re first getting started. There are a lot of growers around here doing pretty good.”
What grows well depends on what the soil is like where you are at. Around Devine, it’s sandy and sandy loam, good for peanuts. Around here, hay and grass farms are flourishing. In Hondo area, there’s more water in the soil and that’s where you’ll see more cotton.
When you’re farming, “You put everything you’ve got into it. It’s really rewarding at the end of the season. You learn as you go. It keeps you on your toes,” he adds.
“Lots of prayers go on” when you’re a farmer, and this year’s peanut crop is looking pretty good.
By Kayleen Holder