Not many people can say their family has been continuously farming since Colonial times. Andy Timmons of Lubbock, Texas, is a multi-generational farmer and part of the few families that have been farming since prior to 1776.
Andy’s family has survived the test of time by making the necessary adjustments to continue being a successful farming family, whether it was sticking with cotton, including peanuts into their operation,or abandoning row crops all together and planting grapes.
“When you start looking at something you’re going to pass on to your kids, you really take a hard look at what you’re doing and ask is it sustainable,” Andy said. “We made the decision that grapes were going to be that business that we passed on.”
Andy said the next generation is constantly on his mind as he thinks about his farming operation and how he can improve it for the generations who come after him. Andy said he is always looking for new ways to make his operation more sustainable and profitable for his family.
“In 2006, we started having trouble where we farm in Terry County with our water volume,” Andy said. “We were losing our water pretty fast, and we weren’t able to keep up with high-water use crops.”
Andy credits his classes while obtaining an agronomy degree from Texas Tech University to his openness of trying new management practices or crops all together. This education and one of his good friends opened the possibility of growing grapes and starting a new venture for him by plantings five acres of grapes.
Take a hard look at what you’re doing and ask is it sustainable.
“We’re trying to become totally vertically integrated,” Andy said. “From growing it to selling it as much as we can.”
Andy’s wife, Lauren, said she was caught off guard when her husband first approached her with the idea of getting into the grape growing business. She said they had always been into row crops and was not sure about grapes but trusted Andy to try his hand in something new.
Andy said a knowledgeable man in the grape and wine industry from Washington told him if he was going to make it in this business, he had to be in every revenue stream. This piece of advice led him to start making wine under the label of “Lost Draw” with the help of his nephew, Andrew Sides, and later a custom grape crushing facility in Meadow, Texas, called Texas Wine Company.
Lost Draw Vineyards in Brownfield, Texas, the Lost Draw Cellars tasting room in Fredericksburg, Texas, and the Texas Wine Company have allowed Andy and his family to become more vertically integrated than they ever were before.
Andy said the change from cotton and peanuts to grapes was necessary as he looked at the farming industry and how his family would continue their livelihood and tradition of farming.
“It moves from generation to generation,” Andy said. “The people that have gotten in the wine business are really laying the foundation for the next generation to come along.”