Ryan, Kelly, Garrett, Dylan and Nathan make their home on the The Lazy Acres Farm. Farmland that Kelly’s great, great granddad, Benjamin Harrison Neel, homesteaded in 1854 and has been in the Neel name ever since, being farmed by five succeeding generations for nearly 170 years. There are two limestone sinkholes on the property as well as many fruit and ornamental trees, including huckleberry, pear, peach, pie apple, satsuma, grape vines, mulberry, mayhaw, cypress and dogwood. The farm encompasses almost 500 acres of cypress wetlands, hardwood thickets, peanut and cotton acreage, as well as pine forest.
William H. Neel, II took over the farm in 1928, the year his father passed away. He harvested his first peanut crop that year at only eight years of age! William Jr. always wanted to raise cows – in fact when he mustered out of the army; he said he wanted to raise kids and cows. He started out with scrub cows and a pure bred bull. Later he sold all these and bought Black Angus. In 1947, he married Olivia Bradley, and they had two children; Bill and June Neel. William II, was a cattleman and farmer until his death in 1987.
For a few years afterward, his son, Bill III, and son-in-law, David Horton, continued to farm the peanut acreage. However, both had full time jobs and were unable to effectively continue the farming. The cows were sold when the land was put in conservation reserve in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. In 1986, Bill III, was invited to join the other farmers in the state whose land had been a farming operation for at least 100 years. The commissioner of agriculture, Doyle Conner, presented him a plaque for owning a Pioneer Century Farm.
For many, many years tobacco, peanuts, corn, soybeans, watermelons, and cotton were grown. Today, The Lazy Acre Farm only grows pines and provides pasture raised pork, poultry, and in the summer of 2018 we will be adding pasture raised beef. The Farm is located east of the Paront settlement and south of Dellwood, Florida and it occupies all four corners of the intersection of Americus Road and Cypress Grove Road.
In 1997, Kelly Horton, one of only two grandchildren of Olivia B. Neel, married Ryan Ziglar. In 1998, they moved to the Grand Ridge area and one year later moved into their new home located in the heart of the Lazy Acre Farm.