Through the Farming Connect Mentoring service Anna Jones has been paired with award-winning beef and sheep farmer Dafydd Parry Jones.

He has shaped his business near Machynlleth around a low input system and this is the direction that Anna would like her farm to follow too.

Inspired by Dafydd’s red clover leys, the Jones family will be growing their own this year.

Anna was working in the equine sector in 2016 when she decided to switch to agriculture, farming 150 hectares near Welshpool with her parents, John and Sally.

“I decided to take the opportunity to run the farm in order to keep it in the family,’’ says Anna.

That involved a rethink of the existing enterprises, which at that time included a flock of 800 Welsh Mule ewes, a small flock of pedigree Charollais sheep, and a herd of 45 suckler cows.

“I knew we needed to do something alongside livestock farming, and diversifying into holiday accommodation offered the potential for financial security.

Before making the decision, Anna wanted to gain confidence that it would work, and found the conduit for this in the form of Farming Connect’s Agrisgôp programme.

This farmer to farmer learning programme brings groups of like-minded individuals together to help develop their businesses by gaining the confidence, skills and knowledge to turn their ideas into reality.

A series of meetings arranged by Agrisgôp leader; Elaine Rees Jones proved invaluable and the family opted for a high-end luxury holiday let, which was developed in an existing building and opened for business in August 2021.

To balance the workload this has generated, commercial ewe numbers have been reduced to 500, however, they aim to increase the size of the suckler herd.

High health and productivity are central to the performance of the sheep and cattle and when the Jones’ ran into trouble with these, they were again able to reach out to Farming Connect.

Anna didn’t study agriculture at university and her knowledge of farming extended to what she has picked up from her father over the years. An opportunity for fully funded mentoring, from a farmer with a similar system, was one that Anna seized upon.

Anna has also received funded advice on grassland and crop management and advice from a vet on livestock management and performance.

For more information on what Farming Connect has to offer visit­ or call 03456 000 813.