He is a familiar face in Carmarthenshire and many know him either through school, from the mart or as the FUW’s current Carmarthenshire chairman.
Phil Jones, from Clyttie Cochion, Llanpumsaint, has been farming almost his entire life, embraced the ups and downs and inspires generations of young people to get a footing in the farming industry.
You might have heard the joke about the tourist who asked a local resident how to get from Kenmare to Killarney on the west coast of Ireland and the response was somewhat baffling; ‘’I don’t know as if I wanted to get to Killarney,I wouldn’t start from there’’!
And that in a sense he said, would be a good introduction to his farm.
“As if you wanted to make money from farming, you wouldn’t start in Clyttie Cochion, Llanpumsaint! At least, not since the new millennium dawned and the wet weather started in earnest. Our farm’s soil type is clay over a heavy clay subsoil and it has not ‘adapted’ well to a significant increase in annual rain,” he says.
Phil took the farm back in hand from his father around 2011 and started keeping the Easycare breed of sheep as he wanted a ‘hands off’ farming system and a way of managing the grassland without poaching the ground.
“We keep a motley flock numbering about 350, of mainly Easycare type ewes. My Dad was more fortunate than I, in that he farmed the place with 50 dairy cows and that is what I had thought that I would be doing when I returned from Agricultural College in the early 80’s.
“But to my surprise, just as I finished my HND, he decided to sell the cows. And that was the beginning of my life’s adventures,” he recalls.
He was gifted 50 acres and a derelict farmhouse, which was renovated in 1990 and is the family's present dwelling and borrowed money against the recently acquired asset to begin his farming career.