Ed Jones devoted legislative leadership on behalf of rural Americans and his support of cooperatives spans many decades. He was an active member of his local credit and telephone cooperatives. For many years he was president of the Yorkville Telephone Cooperative, and served on the board of the National Telephone Cooperative Association for 12 years.
During his eight terms in Congress and as chair of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit and Rural Development, he steadfastly supported programs that would strengthen cooperatives. Always interested in helping the 70-year-old cooperative Farm Credit System better serve farmers, he provided the leadership to develop legislation that rescued the System when the farm economy was in dire distress. He championed rural telephone and electric cooperatives, and was instrumental in the establishment of the Rural Telephone Bank. He also fought to preserve adequate funding for the entire Rural Electrification Administration program.