Shenandoah Dairy started in 1987 milking 100 cows on 160 acres. The entire labor force consisted of Family members, Jim and Carol Henderson, and seven children.
The business grew and so did the family with spouses joining in and then grandchildren, 18 to date. The farm continually added cows in incremental phases. As modifications were made to the original double 4 parlor and feed bunks built, additional cows were acquired.
The farm quickly grew to 200 cows in 1988 and adding a couple employees…some family members leaving the nest. The parlor modified and then grew to 400 cows. A feed barn was built, additional labor and cows added to milk 700 a few years later by this time operating the parlor 24 hours per day.
By 1999 the old parlor was wore out and a new milking parlor was built. The new parlor is a double 30 parallel meaning there two rows of thirty cows standing side by side milked at one time. In order to pay for the new facility, an additional 500 cows were added for a total of 1500 cows milked twice each day.
Cropland was continually being added. As additional cows are added, more crops are needed both to feed the cows and as a method of handling nutrients generated as fertilizer from the cows.
The search began for planning to meet the needs of the cows both for cow comfort and controlling nutrient management. A total of four 600-cow free stall barns have been built utilizing sand for bedding, fans for air movement and misters for cooling. In order to pay for the capital structures, more cows were added.
The farm presently milks 3200 cows three times a day. There are also 2500 acres under irrigation to provide forage for the cattle. The nutrients generated from the cows are used as organic fertilizer to grow the crops to feed the cows. There are also 2800 head of heifers, dry cows, and bulls fed and provided for on the farm. Eighty employees are responsible for the care of the cattle, crops, and facilities.