THE 2019 DON AND DONA
The first Don & Dona were chosen in 1956. During that year, the honor was a closely held secret, known only to a select few, and the couple chosen as Don and Dona wasn't actually revealed until the night of the Algodon Ball. And the Algodon Club continues to honor this tradition to this day. The Algodon Club is very excited to present out 2019 Don and Dona, Mr. and Mrs. Lance Neuhaus.
2019 DON AND DOÑA
Mr. and Mrs. Lance Neuhaus
Lance Neuhaus was born on April 28, 1971 in Weslaco, Texas. He grew up in Mercedes, Texas with his sister and two brothers on their family farm, where they grew citrus and raised cattle. He is a third generation farmer and has other business interests related to agriculture. Lance’s grandfather, E.F. Neuhaus, moved to Mercedes with his family from southern Illinois in 1947 after several devastating floods. There E.F. Neuhaus grew cotton, grain, corn, citrus, vegetables and raised cattle. Lance’s father, Earl Neuhaus, worked on their farm and at Sherry Barbee Implement —the local John Deere Dealership—through high school and college. Lance’s father set up cotton pickers and equipment during the summers. After his graduation from Texas A&M, Earl returned to the dealership where he had an opportunity to buy shares in it. At that time, the dealership became know as Barbee Neuhaus Implement. Earl and Billie Jo acquired a farm where they raised their four children. They planted citrus and raised cattle. Earl and Billie Jo served as Don and Dona in 2009. Lance can remember working with his grandfather stomping cotton trailers and feeding cattle after school and on weekends. He worked through high school in their citrus groves. During the summer, he worked at the dealership Cotton equipment was a large part of the business at the time; Lance spent his summers setting up the new machines and repairing the old ones.
Lance attended Texas A&M where he earned a degree in Agricultural Economics. After graduating, he returned to the dealership to work as a salesman. He later became general manager. During that time, the dealership expanded to four locations and became known as Neuhaus & Company. In 2009, Lance and his brother, Kevin, purchased the dealership from their parents and siblings and expanded it to a fifth location. The farm expanded as well to grow cotton, sugarcane, citrus and cattle. In 2017, the opportunity arose to sell the dealerships. Lance still works there managing daily operations as the Division President of the Valley region.
Lance married his high school sweetheart, Melissa, in 1994. They recently celebrated their 25th anniversary. Melissa’s great grandfather, Clyde McWhorter Sr., farmed cotton and grain in Beeville, Texas. Her grandfather Clyde McWhorter Jr., moved from Beeville, Texas in 1947
to Donna, Texas where he farmed cotton and vegetables for many years before working for and retiring from the Texas Workforce Commission. She can remember riding with him in his Pontiac down farm roads, standing in the front seat looking at crops. Melissa’s father, Jimmy Wayne Fulcher, had a career in the oil field where he traveled the state as a Drilling Superintendent. Melissa attended South West Texas University and later graduated with a teaching degree from Pan American in Edinburg . She worked through college at First City Bank and later Texas State Bank in the Ag Lending Department. Once she graduated, she taught at a private school until her second son, Colton, was born.
Lance and Melissa have two sons. Clayton is a Texas A&M graduate class of ’19 and Colton is Texas A&M class of ’21. Clayton was scepter
bearer in the Algodon Court in 2006 and Colton was a scepter bearer in 2009. Colton was an Algodon Scholarship recipient in 2017. Clayton earned an Agriculture Economics degree and has returned to the valley to continue to grow cotton, citrus, sugar and cattle. Lance and Melissa have always been very civic minded, serving on numerous committees in their community. Lance serves on the Advisory Board of Texas Regional Bank, as well as the Advisory Board at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock show, the Rodeo Committee, the Rio Grande Valley Sugar growers committees, and the Rio Farms board. Melissa serves on the RGV Livestock Show Scholarship Committee, the Hidalgo County 4H board, and numerous other local organizations. Lance and Melissa were Algodon Club Presidents in 2008. They are members of The First United Church of Weslaco. Lance and Melissa enjoy spending time at their family ranch in Rio Grande City; they also enjoy traveling, hunting, and fishing together. They are thankful for their rich farming history and will continue to promote agriculture in their community for years to come.