Raymond B. Jones
Raymond B. Jones was reared on the family farm that his ancestors established in what today is Madison County, Alabama in 1804, surrounded by fields of cotton, corn, and cattle. Through the vision and hard work of generations, Jones Valley emerged to become one of the country=s largest urban cattle farms.
Jones Valley Farm was the first in the area to transition from cotton farming to pasture grass. Kentucky 31 fescue was the luxurious green grass most desired by cattle farmers. Jones= father, Carl, and uncle Ed, drove their combines and associated equipment to Kentucky, offered to help farmers harvest their fields and bartered for leftover straw as payment. From that straw, the valuable fescue seed was recovered and brought back to Alabama for planting. The cattle and seed business became the foundation that has sustained the farm to the present.
Jones attended Auburn University, majoring in animal husbandry and received a bachelor=s degree in 1957. After graduation, he served a tour with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the National Guard then returned to run the family farm. In 1960, Jones married Elizabeth (Libby) Mercer, the woman who would become his best fan and encourager.
Jones split his time between farming activities from spring to fall and with his father=s engineering firm during the winter. When his father died in 1967, Jones stepped in to manage the engineering firm while still running the farm. His deep faith and the support of devoted family, friends, and employees helped as he turned the engineering firm and the farm into successful and enjoyable operations.
Jones is active in the Madison County Cattlemen=s Association and the Alabama Cattlemen=s Association. He has served as Alabama coordinator of all Kentucky 31 fescue growers, helping raise money to fund a fescue diagnostics laboratory at Auburn University. In 1995, he was selected Agricultural Environmental Steward for the Southeast U.S. by the National Cattlemen=s Association. Jones believes that farming is not a trade, but a tradition. Raising cattle on the land continues to be the primary activity of the farm, and if Ray Jones has anything to say about it—and he does—Jones Valley will continue as an urban cattle operation.
Jones and his wife, Libby, have three children: Lisa Jones Yokley, May Jones Patterson, and Raymond B. Jones, Jr.; and seven grandchildren.