For one Cumberland County family, diversification means keeping a family on the farm working together. The Jones family of Carlisle, Pa., has a diversified operation. Margie and Gerald Jones have six sons, each with a different interest in agriculture and have embraced change to keep the family working together.

Margie and Gerald bought their farm in 1979 and milked cows until 1993. After selling their dairy herd, they decided to continue farming by creating a custom-harvesting operation. While providing this service to others, they also farm 2,000 acres and raise 150 Angus and Hereford cattle.

Jones Harvesting, LLC was formed with Margie and Gerald and their two sons, Keith and Jerry Jr. They cover more than 35,000 acres a year with all of their tillage, planting and harvesting activities. To cover this amount of acreage they operate three combines, two forage harvesters, two balers and one 12-row corn planter. Keith, Jerry Jr. and brother, Josh, do the majority of the custom work, along with help from employees.

In 1992, another opportunity presented itself and the Jones’ purchased Cabin Hollow Butcher Shop in Dillsburg. Today, this business is run by Gerald and son, Darryl. In 2006, they formed Warrington Farm Meats, where they concentrate on their own smoked and processed meats which are sold wholesale and through their retail store. For more information on this operation, visit If running two successful operations were not enough, Darryl also has a passion for auctioneering. Today he operates Jones & Martin Auctions focusing on machinery, livestock and antique sales.

In addition to the custom harvesting operation and butcher shops, the family operates its own trucking company, Gerald Jones & Sons Trucking, Inc. Their son, Wayne, always had a love for trucking and in 1999 they purchased a ’98 Peterbilt and Wayne has been driving ever since. He hauls Pioneer seed from the Elizabethtown warehouse delivering seed to dealers and farmers in the Northeast as far north as the Quebec line.

Travis, the youngest of the boys, is a student at Shalom Christian Academy and while he has plenty of time to decide his future, he is interested in baling and the custom harvesting operation.

How does one family keep all of this together? Simple. Through a mother who knows the operations inside and out. Margie does all of the paperwork and invoicing for the businesses and is often found clerking for the auction services. While the Jones’ are truly a family operation, they do have several full and part-time employees for all of their enterprises.

“The key to our operation is diversification,” stated Margie. “Each business presents itself with a unique set of opportunities and challenges and we have come to rely on AgChoice Farm Credit to understand our needs as we change.”

The Jones’ have been AgChoice customer-owners for more than 20 years. They initially worked with Jerry Ogline, former Cumberland Valley branch manager. “Jerry is part of the reason we were able to get done what we have done so far,” said Margie. “He listened to our dream and saw the vision of the family working together.”

The boys recalled watching Jerry drive through the barley field to sign papers, Keith mentioned —“what banker would do that?” After Jerry retired, the Jones’ began working with Loan Officer Doug Koontz and look forward to building a relationship with him.

As agriculture changes in today’s world, many farm families have used diversification to lessen market risks and allow family members with different interests to remain working together. For the Jones family, they have met diversification head on, embraced it and accepted the challenge it brings – one son, one enterprise at a time.