Remembering a man who held many roles – Farmville

On Sunday, May 15, Prince Edward County lost an involved member of its community beyond the elected office for which it was widely known.

Robert M. “Bobby” Jones spent much of his time working on his family farm in Rice, Poor House Dairy. He graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in dairy science and returned to take over the farm in 1981.

Jones’ older brother, Dr. Bill Jones, remembers their farm being one of more than 30 dairy farms in the area when they were growing up. It is now one of two in Prince Edward County along with Boot Hill Dairy. The farm has 180 dairy cows and 400 in the herd.

“He always treated others, whether friends, neighbors, employees, better than he treated himself,” Bill Jones said of his brother. “He was a generous person.”

Bobby Jones was a great steward of the land and loved working there. In 2016, it won one of 10 Virginia Clean Water Farm Grand Basin Awards. This recognized his work fencing around farm streams to prevent cows from contaminating local waterways.

Although a dairy farm was a round-the-clock job, it was just one of Jones’s many endeavours.

He has represented the District of Lockett on the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors since January 2000, making him the current senior member of the Board of Supervisors. He had also served on the Prince Edward Planning Commission in 1988.

Combining his love for agriculture and public service, Jones worked for nine years at the Prince Edward and Nottoway branch of the Farm Service Agency of the United States Department of Agriculture. The agency serves farmers, ranchers, and agricultural partners by providing programs aimed at creating a strong future for American farmers.

He has also served on numerous dairy and cooperative boards, including the Farmers Cooperative. He spent nearly 20 years on the board helping local farmers in the community get the supplies they needed.

“He has voted on many projects to help farmers in the community,” said Alfie Parker, director of Farmers Cooperative. “He’s done a lot for our local farmers.”

He also served on the board for Colonial Farm Credit since 2013. He has served on the Audit and Legislative Committees and served as Vice Chairman.

He was a member of the Sharon Baptist Church as well as a member of the Prince Edward Ruritan Club for 37 years.

“I’ve always been amazed at his work with other organizations,” said Paul Franklin, CEO of Colonial Farm Credit. “One night he’d be at the Ruritan Club’s cooking stew and the next day he’d be leading a board meeting. He was always so humble and calm, you would never know he was involved in so many organizations. But when you talked to him, he always gave you 100% of his attention.

Through his many avenues of service, Jones is remembered by those who knew him for his humility and dedication in all he did.

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