Growing up on a farm in Isle of Wight County, Va., Kirk Jones was active in 4-H, showing prized livestock at the county fair. It’s a passion that continues today for the 32-year-old farmer who still makes time for 4-H despite a full schedule on the family farm.
“I was blessed to have good mentors growing up, so I like to be a mentor to kids,” says Jones, who farms peanuts, cotton, corn, soybeans, wheat and cattle with his dad J.W. Jones, Jr. and mom Donna Jones.
Livvy Preisser, Kirk’s Extension agent in Isle of Wight County, appreciates Jones’ commitment to youth agriculture education. “Kirk’s passion for expanding the region’s youth agricultural education drove him to serve on our Extension Livestock Steering Committee and as our 4-H chairman for the Isle of Wight County Fair,” Preisser wrote in a letter nominating Jones for the 2020 Farm Press Peanut Efficiency Award for the upper Southeast.
“As a Livestock Steering Committee member, he helps guide our local Extension programs. In these leadership positions, he helps support our youth in their growing agriculture endeavors by attending 4-H meetings and providing educational assistance to our youth. He constantly goes above and beyond for our youth Extension and 4-H programs and is an irreplaceable volunteer,” Preisser writes.
Jones, like his father and mother, knows that giving back to agriculture is just as important as running the farm. “The Joneses have always been progressive farmers who combine their love of agriculture with a willingness to serve and learn,” wrote Dell Cotton, executive secretary of the Virginia Peanut Growers Association in his letter endorsing Kirk for the award.
“Kirk’s father has been active on numerous cotton and peanut boards over the years, and his mother is currently on the Virginia Peanut Board appointed by the governor. Kirk, along with his cotton involvement, is a member of the board of directors and executive committee of the Virginia Peanut Growers Association,” Cotton writes.
The Joneses are also on-farm research collaborators with Virginia Tech. “We often look to him as a farmer-collaborator because of his keen interest in research and attention to detail,” wrote David Langston, director of the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Suffolk in a letter nominating Kirk for the Peanut Efficiency Award.
Moreover, the Joneses are Deltapine NPE (New Product Evaluator) cotton growers while J.W. Jones is a past president of Southern Cotton Growers and has served as a director of the National Cotton Council.
“We like to give back to an industry that has given so much to us,” Kirk says.