Get to Know … Bryan Jones

By Martie Thompson
editor@floridanewsline.com

Bryan Jones is a seventh generation Floridian who was born in the old Flagler Hospital in St. Augustine. He grew up in the area and attended Episcopal High School in Jacksonville, where he met his now-wife, Burton. They live in St. Johns Golf and Country Club and have two young children who attend Liberty Pines Academy. Jones is a third generation farmer and current president of the Putnam/St. Johns County Farm Bureau.

Q: How did your family get started in farming?
A: My grandfather, David, began farming in Mandarin in the 1950s and moved to St. Johns County in the 1960s. Over the years, he and then my father amassed the approximately 1,000 acres in the County Road 214/County Road 13 area that we farm today.

Q: What crop do you grow and can you tell us about your farming schedule?
A: We have approximately 1,000 acres of potatoes, the bulk of which goes to Frito Lay. We take about a month to plant in the January time frame and then start harvesting the last week of April, through May, until about the first week of June. In the summer, we grow a cover crop, sorghum, to soak up the nutrients and then we cut it up to break the nutrients back down into the soil. In the fall, we plant approximately 100 acres of green beans.

Q: What do you like about living in St. Johns Golf and Country Club and why don’t you live on the farm?
A: I get this question all the time. We love living where we do. When I come home from the farm, I call our neighborhood “Pleasantville.” The (County Road) 210 Bubble is a wonderful place to be. We have fantastic neighbors and our two children have so many options for play. I love being around people and being a part of a community.

Q: What can you tell us about the Florida Farm Bureau and your role with the organization?
A: I am currently the president of the Putnam/St. Johns County Farm Bureau and I serve on the Fruit and Vegetable Board and the Oversight Committee for the state organization as well. Locally, the Farm Bureau is all about agriculture education in the community. I’d like to have a garden in every school in St. Johns County and then expand into Putnam County. We need kids to understand that food doesn’t just come from the grocery store. My children help on the farm on the weekends and understand that in order to eat, we have to work. I am grateful for the Farm Bureau for the advocacy and the education they bring to the community, state and nation.

Q: What would you like people to know about farming?

A: Most people don’t know that there are 50,000 – 70,000 acres of agriculture right in their backyard in St. Johns County. The overall economic impact of agriculture to our county is about $190 million. There is a wide range of people who feed us, but nationwide, only 1 percent of our population are farmers. I’d also like for people to know that farmers are truly stewards of our environment.

 

Photo courtesy Bryan Jones

Bryan Jones and family.