Brownfield economy driven by oil, cotton, peanuts, grapes

BROWNFIELD, TX (KCBD) - Brownfield was founded by two school teachers from the Dallas area back in 1903.

The two men bought a patch of land from a man named Dick Brownfield, and the rest was history.

Since that time the community has developed and grown, thanks to agricultural development and energy production. From retail to manufacturing, Brownfield has more than 300 businesses.

But there are four major industries that serve as the backbone of Brownfield and Terry County: oil, cotton, peanuts and grapes.

And as in much of the South Plains, in Terry County, cotton is king. Terry County produces short staple cotton, which is used to make fabric, and this area is one of the leading cotton counties in the state.

Local historian Fredrick Jackson says "Agriculture is very, very important here."

Oil is also another major commodity.

Terry County lies along the Permian Basin, and has produced oil since the 1940s.

Cotton and oil are important industries here, but "peanuts and wine grapes are getting to be even more important," Jackson said.

Peanuts and wine grapes are a major part of the local economy.

Terry County farmers harvest more than 20,000 acres of peanuts here a year.

And you may not have known, there are more than 20 grape vineyards in Terry County.

This area produces more than 80 percent of all the grapes grown in the state of Texas.

"Terry County produces more wine grapes than any county in Texas. The next county is about three times less than what Terry County produces and Brownfield is right in the middle of that " Jackson said.

Farming is always a gamble, and weather plays an important role. But for the most part, grapes, peanuts, cotton, and even the challenging oil industry, have kept folks here employed.

"Oil has always come and gone here, but we feel like grapes, peanuts, cotton are going to continue to be the agricultural mainstays here in the area," Jackson said.

The oil industry is picking up in this area - many here say it's experiencing an oil boom.

In fact, a major oil production company will be moving into this area soon, and is looking to employ about 300 people.

Copyright 2013 KCBD. All rights reserved.