BY JACLYN ROSE –
T-N-L Meat Processing is located at 527 Polk Road 71, off Highway 88 in Yocana, Arkansas. Owner and Master Butcher, Troy Lunsford, gives God all the glory for his business and explained that the initials T-N-L stand for Trust in the Lord, which is exactly what he and his family have done since opening his business nine years ago.
Lunsford was born and raised in Polk County, around the same property his business is located, and graduated from Mena High School in 1990. After beginning his career as a butcher at local Mena Grocery Store, Grubb’s Northside Food Center, he went on to work for Wal-Mart in Springdale, Arkansas, which he would do for the next 12 years. “I traveled around a lot for Wal-Mart opening stores. I spent a lot of time around Southeast Oklahoma, because I was good with people, they wanted me in management. You know, they won’t let you just cut meat,” said Lunsford with a laugh. Later, his family was relocated back to Mena when the Wal-Mart Supercenter opened and he continued to work there for three years.
Lunsford met his wife, Ginger, during camp at the Ouachita Baptist Association in Board Camp and they married in 1992. They have two children, Trey, their 19-year old son, who works at T-N-L and a 16-year old daughter, Kaylee.
Twelve years ago, Lunsford spent a few years in full time ministry with Brother Gene Stacks and today continues as a part time Pastor at Koinonia Christian Fellowship. “I’m really involved in the church and when I’m not working, that‘s where I am. You know as you get older all the extracurriculars seem to get cut out, it’s either at work or at church. Trey and I really enjoy fishing though and have really taken that up,” said Lunsford.
Nine years ago, Lunsford went back to butchering and has built a solid reputation as a meat processor, with a specialty in custom sausages and custom curing and smoking. T-N-L Meat Processing has six employees and works with beef, hogs, lambs, goats and all types of wild game, including bear and, of course, deer. They are open most days during deer season and are a custom processor, with the ability to do a full process down to simply grinding up boneless meat for their customers. “If you dream it, I can do it. We are known for our custom sausages: summer sausages, sausage stick, and ethnic sausages like bratwurst. We also cure and smoke, this is common with bacon. The Lord has really blessed us in this area. I almost quit a few years ago because I was becoming frustrated with my product and my wife said, ‘let’s just pray about this.’ Within a few weeks the Lord began to give me ideas and areas in my mind that I needed to change and I really became much more pleased with the product. We are service providers. We don’t sell anything, we just provide a service,” explained Lunsford.
Lunsford works with an organization called “Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry.” Through this, local hunters can bring a deer to Lunsford that is quartered up and for no additional cost he will grind up the meat and donate it to a local food shelter. Hunters can also donate part of their meat to the program. “The greatest thing about this is that it all stays local. Protein is so important for everyone and meat is one of the hardest things for a food bank to get. All of the meat donated here goes directly to the Acts of Love Food Bank at Mena’s First Assembly of God Church. This is just a really needed program,” Lunsford explained.
Lunsford also serves as a Justice of the Peace for Yocana. “I’m not a politician but I love Polk County and I want to see it do well. There’s a lot of good folks here and a lot of potential but it needs to be tapped into and directed the right way. I love this area, this is my home,” said Lunsford.