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Jimmy Luna, who was selected as the Lincoln County Soil Conservation District’s 2012 Star in Conservation honoree, has now been nominated as the Tennessee Association Conservation District’s Conservation Farmer of the Year.
The son of Sammy and Thelma Luna and brother to sisters Amy and Penny, Jimmy is part of a long family tradition in farming. The family established their roots when Jimmy’s great-great-grandfather, Eli Barnes, moved to Lincoln County from Lincoln County, N.C., in 1851. As a result, many generations of the family still call the Boonshill community here home. Both his paternal and maternal grandparents were also farmers.
When Jimmy was growing up, the family farmed beef cattle and tobacco. From as early as Jimmy can remember, he has known farming. Even when he was 10-years-old and accidentally hung a sub-soiler on the road, it did not discourage him — he got help and went right on working.
Jimmy and his wife, Star, were introduced in August 2001 after Star’s aunt and some mutual friends suggested they meet. They started talking and have been together ever since. They were married on Aug. 10, 2004, in Gatlinburg. Jimmy and Star live in the same house Jimmy’s mother grew up in, and the couple worked on renovating the house during their off time from their jobs. They were able to move in after they were married. Years ago, when his mother was growing up on the farm, it consisted of 130 acres. The current property totals 37 acres.
Jimmy was instrumental in having the farm registered as a Tennessee Century Farm, which will be 162 years old this year.
When it comes to having an extensive background in farming, Jimmy is not alone — Star also comes from a family of farmers. She is originally from Hazel Green, Ala., where her family operates as Hunter Brothers. Although Star’s family has always farmed, she was working at Healthsouth Rehab Hospital until 2000. Her father recognized how stressful her job was and asked her to work with the family farming business instead.
One of Star’s memorable childhood moments was when she was 12-years-old and driving a tractor with her father. She noticed her father bracing as she accidentally popped a wheelie. Her father told her that if he had corrected her, she would never have learned not to do it again. As of this day, she has never done it again.
Jimmy and Star are proud parents of Ava, age 7, and Noah, 5. Both children attend Ralph Askins Elementary School in Fayetteville. Ava thinks her Daddy is a good farmer, and she would like to grow up and become a farmer herself. She was recently helping her Daddy spray his fields, and Jimmy said she drove very well. Ava really enjoys helping and working on the farm, too. She spent last summer helping her Poppa plant soybeans.
When Noah is asked what his daddy does for a living, he says his daddy is always going to the shop to work. Star says that every time they pass the high school, Noah says, “That’s where my daddy got his award!” At the moment, Noah would like to be a wrestler, and he is very good with a computer. Noah really enjoys going with his daddy to look at trucks, and he likes to work at them, too.
Currently Jimmy is a full-time farmer, but that was not always the case. Jimmy used to work at Nissan in Decherd until 2008. He farms a total of 280 acres in Lincoln County and was farming cotton until 2010. He then switched to row crops, such as beans, corn and wheat. He participates in a Conservation Stewardship Program — Air Quality Enhancement Activity. This CSP is for the use of drift reduction technologies to reduce the drift of agricultural chemicals away from the intended target when spraying.
Some other conservation practices that Jimmy is actively involved in are soil health, no-till, crop rotation and cover crop, but even before he applied to any programs, he was already implementing Best Management Practices and Conservation Stewardship on his own. He knows the benefits of good conservation practices that will preserve the land for future generations.
A member of the Lincoln County Farm Bureau, Jimmy attends Boonshill Cumberland Presbyterian Church, where he has served as an elder since 1994. Jimmy is the youngest elder to ever be elected at his church. Even as a young adult, Jimmy had many leadership qualities, and he still remains a strong community member.
Jimmy and Star incorporate a greater quality of life by preserving family values and tradition. Their love of the land and their dedication to their family is shown in their everyday lives. By advocating and cultivating Conservation Stewardship and for the many other reasons mentioned, the Lincoln County Soul Conservation District nominated Jimmy Luna for the 2012 TACD Category I Award.