Shropshire Star

Powys farmer future-proofs business after holiday move

A Powys farmer believes a decision to diversify with holiday accommodation helped to future-proof her family farm.

Anna Jones and Grisial Pugh Jones, Farming Connect Development Officer.

And Anna Jones has praised the support of Farming Connect in arming her with the knowledge and confidence to forge ahead with that goal.

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

Her brother, Matthew, had pursued a career in property development, so she was the link to securing a future for Tir Newydd Farms under the family’s stewardship.

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

It 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," she said.

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.

The 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.

“We were given the opportunity to decide which speakers we wanted, it was very much bespoke to the group,’’ Anna said. “This was hugely beneficial because we were at the start of our journey and we didn’t know which level of grading we wanted to pitch our accommodation at."

The family opted for a high-end luxury holiday let, which was developed in an existing building and opened for business in August 2021. Now they are planning to grow further.

“We would still have gone ahead without Agrisgôp but it definitely gave me the confidence to ask the right questions to different people along the way, instead of going into it blindly,’’ Anna said. "We plan to extend the holiday business further whilst keeping Tir Newydd as a working farm, which will mean making a few tweaks to get everything to run more smoothly."

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 for help.

Iodine and copper deficiencies were suspected in the cattle, so blood testing was carried out by Trefaldwyn Vets funded through the Farming Connect Animal Health Clinic.

That service also provided funding towards the cost of metabolic profiling the herd and flock.

Through the Farming Connect Mentoring service Anna was also 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 Tir Newydd to follow also.

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

“I am very grateful for all the help we have had from Farming Connect, to get us to this point," said Anna."And I’m really excited to see how our plans develop going forward.’’

For more information on what Farming Connect has to offer visit or contact the Farming Connect service centre on 03456 000 813.

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