When Claire Jones of Llanddewi Brefi was growing up, she never dreamt of becoming a farmer, but when she married school friend Stephen she found herself running a beef and sheep farm.
In 2020, they took the plunge and changed their livestock to a herd of 140 British Friesian dairy cows, with help from the Welsh Government’s Farming Connect scheme. The switch has allowed Claire and husband Stephen to improve the quality of their lives, and the lives of the animals they look after. The consistent income enabled Claire to give up her job as a medical secretary at the local GP and for her and Stephen to spend more time with their two children, who love to help out on the farm.
Claire and Stephen’s low-input, grass-fed farming system put environmental benefit and animal welfare front-and-centre, with a paddock grazing system so the cows can spend as much time as possible outside. Claire is passionate about supporting local farmers and communities, documenting her life on Facebook and Instagram (@-farmers_wife_) to connect people with the realities of agricultural life.
Claire’s story is being shared as part of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s Future in Farming series showing innovation in the industry for a more sustainable future, and here in the Cambrian News by First Person.
“When I left school I became a jeweller, and then I worked for the Welsh Government in Aberystwyth. I married Stephen, had two kids and became a sheep and beef farmer when we took on my husband’s parents farm,” Claire explained.
“That was about 14 years ago, and as well as working on the farm. I also qualified as a medical secretary for a GP surgery, and Steve was a contractor. But when Covid hit, we decided to go into dairy for a better work life balance.
“We left our other jobs to spend more time on the farm with the kids. We’ve also taken a different approach to farming that produces sustainable food while also supporting the environment. And I share our journey on social media to show what we do on a day-to-day basis. It’s the best free resource you can get.