The Henderson Family
If you look up the definition of a "family farm" in the dictionary, you might find a picture of Shenandoah Dairy in Live Oak, Florida and its owners, three generations of the Henderson family. Special care and pride of ownership are evident from the arched sign over the entrance, the cow barns with special cooling technology, the care of baby calves and everything in between.
Jim Henderson moved his family from Bradenton, Florida to Live Oak in 1987 with 100 cows. At that time the entire labor force consisted of family members Jim and Carol and their seven children. Currently Jim, two sons, a daughter and son-in-law operate Shenandoah Dairy. Members of the third generation are now involved too.
As the family has grown, so has the farm. The herd has progressed from the original 100 cows to around 3,000 milking animals today. The Hendersons employ the best management practices to keep the cows healthy and happy, to keep the family and employees working in a safe and enjoyable workplace, and to protect and honor the environment.
Cow comfort is top priority here. Keeping cows comfortable is key to animal health and the production of high quality milk, so the Hendersons have invested in tunnel ventilation barns with misters for cooling effect. These barns have 46 fans on one end, creating a complete air exchange in the barns every 45 seconds with a 10-12 mile per hour cooling wind though the barn. With the heat and humidity of Florida, this is a welcome relief for dairy cows. Cows lie down in sand-bedded stalls, proven to be the most comfortable surface for cows.
Cows at Shenandoah are fed a completely balanced ration, providing for their health, maintenance and production. Components of their ration make these cows important recyclers for the environment. Ingredients of the ration include by-products such as citrus peels, cottonseed, and spent grains from distilleries, breweries and ethanol plants that likely end up in landfills. The cows also eat grass and other forages.
The Hendersons are dedicated to being excellent stewards and protectors of the land and the environment. As Jim Henderson explains, "My grandchildren drink this water." In fact, Shenandoah recently received the "Dairy Community Award" from the Central Florida Dairy Advisory Committee. A significant component of qualifying for this award is environmental stewardship.
Gustafson is proud to work with Shenandoah Dairy, a family farm that has grown with the family and with the industry to produce large quantities of the highest quality milk for our discerning customers.
See more farmer profiles