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Mentors guide 2020 Upper Southeast PEA winner Kirk Jones

His two most important mentors are his dad James W. "J.W." Jones, Jr. and his grandfather James Wilson “Buddy” Jones, Sr.

Kirk Jones, the 2020 Farm Press Peanut Efficiency Winner for the Upper Southeast,  has turned to mentors to succeed since he began farming fulltime with his father James “J.W. “ Jones, Jr. in 2006.

His two most important mentors are his dad and his grandfather James Wilson “Buddy” Jones, Sr., although other mentors have helped guide the 32-year-old-farmer from Windsor, Va. along the way. The Jones family has earned a solid reputation as innovative farmers.

At age 83, Buddy Jones has retired from farming. Kirk and J.W. now run the farm along with J.W.’s wife Donna who keeps the books for the farming operation. Kirk’s wife Katie is a full-time mom, taking care of Kolson and his older sister Kori, age 4. Kirk and Katie were married in 2014.

The family farms 1,700 acres of both owned and rented land, producing cotton, corn, soybeans, wheat and peanuts as well as cattle. Of all the crops the family produces, peanuts are Kirk’s favorite.

Timeliness is Kirk’s key to success. It’s a lesson both his grandfather and father have always driven home, and it is the approach Kirk uses to achieve top yields on his farm.

The timeliness approach works. The family historically has made yields approaching 4,500 pounds per acre and even surpassing 5,000 pounds in good years.

Kirk plans to stick with peanuts for as long as he has a contract and for as long as there is a market for the crop. The family has contracted with Birdsong Peanuts for as long as they have grown the crop.

“When you pull up that hill of peanuts to check them, it’s kind of like opening up a present at Christmastime. You don’t know what’s underneath them. You hope it’s a lot. But you’re satisfied whether it’s a lot or it’s not. Even if it’s a third of what you normally make, you’re still going to dig them, you’re still going to pick them and you’re still going to get paid for what you produce,” Kirk says.

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