Jimmy Hopper was reared on a dairy and row crop (cotton, corn, wheat, soybeans, alfalfa) farm in Madison County located in West Tennessee. He served as the agriculture lending officer for a local bank in Jackson, Tennessee after returning to his home town following his formal education. In 1979, Jimmy left banking to establish and operate the Family Tradition Dairy Farm back on his third-generation family farm. He operated the dairy farm until 1985 when he took a position with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture as Director of the Food and Diary Division.
In 2017, after 32 years with the Department of Agriculture, Jimmy retired as Assistant Commissioner for the Consumer and Industry Services Division where he implemented and administered laws and regulations governing businesses and produces relative to agriculture inputs and outputs. During his 32 years with the department, he strived to create a fair and level playing field for businesses where they could provide safe, effective services and products that met or exceeded acceptable standards. Jimmy’s approach to governing was to “educate before you regulate”, consistently making him an ally rather than an adversary.
Jimmy has served as President of the Association of American Feed Control Officials, the Association of Food and Drug Officials of the Southern States, and the Tennessee Certified Crop Advisors Board. He was also honored with Distinguished Service Awards from the former two of these associations, largely in part to his efforts in chairing a task force charged with developing more meaningful feed labeling.
He has served on the Advisory Committee for the University of Tennessee at Martin College of Agriculture and Environmental Resources from where he received his B.S. in Agriculture in 1975. He also served on the Advisory Committee for UT Knoxville Animal Science Department from where he earned his M.S. Degree in 1977. Jimmy is also a 1987 graduate of the Tennessee Government Executive Institute.
Jimmy and his wife of 37 years, Kay, now reside in their hometown of Jackson, Tennessee and are enjoying retirement surrounded by family and friends.