Linwood ‘Lin’ Jones’ work in improving beef genetics, saving money on buying mineral supplements and in cooperative value-added marketing of beef calves has gained nationwide attention.

It has also added countless dollars to the value of cattle sold from his farm and other beef farms in his county.

As a result, Jones has been selected as Virginia’s state winner of the 2013 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award. Jones joins nine other state winners from the Southeast as finalists for the award.

The overall winner will be announced on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at the Sunbelt Ag Expo farm show in Moultrie, Ga.

A farmer for 33 years, Jones operates Berk-Mar Farm on 555 acres. His hay on 255 acres yields two to three tons per acre. He pastures cattle on about 300 acres. “We also graze some of our hay fields to spread our cattle over 450 acres of rotational grazing,” he adds.

His beef herd consists of 200 Angus-Gelbvieh cross cows. He keeps six bulls — three Angus, one Gelbvieh and two Balancer bulls. The Balancer breed consists of Angus-Gelbvieh crosses.

Jones also raises chickens on contract in two houses for Tyson Foods. He raises 60,000 birds per flock and five flocks per year. “We started growing chickens in 1990,” recalls Jones. “We wanted the poultry litter for fertilizer plus the added income from chickens.” In spreading litter, he follows a nutrient management plan and typically applies two tons per acre. 

His forages include tall fescue and orchardgrass. He also planted 17 acres of Roundup Ready alfalfa for feeding weaned calves. Some of his fescue includes the MaxQ variety known for its non-toxic endophyte fungus. Most Kentucky 31 fescue contains a toxic fungus that depresses cattle performance.

He replanted one patch of MaxQ after a drought, but another stand in a river bottom has persisted for eight years.