Jamie Jones of Jones Family Farm has been named Connecticut’s Outstanding Young Farmer of 2013.
The award is given annually by the Connecticut Agricultural Information Council (CAIC), a coalition of state farming groups, as part of the festivities surrounding Connecticut Agriculture Day at the state capitol. Candidates are selected based on their achievements in their agricultural enterprises, involvement in the agriculture industry and their community, and their work on soil and water conservation projects.
Jones is a 1998 graduate of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Today, he oversees all of the agricultural operations on the farm, maintaining more than 400 acres of pick-your-own strawberries, blueberries, pumpkins, and Christmas trees, as well as 50 acres of hay.
In 2004, Jones added more than five acres of vineyards when he established the Jones Winery. His wines have won numerous awards, including Best Connecticut Wine 2012 from Connecticut Magazine.
Jones’ sustainable growing practices, integrated pest management techniques, and collaboration with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station on agricultural research show his commitment to the family philosophy ‘be good to the land and the land will be good to you,” according to a press release.
He and his wife Christiana represent the sixth generation of the Jones family to run the 150-year-old farm in Shelton, along with his parents, Terry and Jean Jones.
Here, Jamie and Christiana also raise Jackson, Samuel and Juliet. Jamie Jones serves as Connecticut Farm Bureau’s first vice president, as the president of the CT Vineyard and Winery Association and on the Board of the Connecticut Farm Wine Development Council.
Most recently Jones was appointed by Governor Dannel Malloy to serve on the Governor’s Council for Agricultural Development in 2011.
The purpose of the Outstanding Young Farmers program is to bring about a greater interest in the farmer to foster better urban-rural relations through the understanding of the farmers’ endeavors, to develop a further appreciation for their contributions and achievements, and to inform the agribusiness community of the growing urban awareness of the farmers’ importance and impact on the U.S. economy.
The state winner will be invited to compete nationally in the National Outstanding Young Farmers Program, which is sponsored nationally by John Deere. The past three Connecticut winners, Russell Holmberg of Holmberg Orchards in Gales Ferry, Matt Peckham of Elm Farm in Woodstock, and Joe Geremia of Wallingford, have been national Top 10 finalists.