“I truly believe the statement that farmers were the first environmentalists, and I wish the consumer knew how highly skilled our employees must be to produce high-quality milk while being good stewards of the environment, cows and land.”
With the hum of machinery and control panels with automated screens, you might get the feeling while visiting Alliance Dairies that you’ve stepped inside a power plant, and you’d be right.
“We consider ourselves the ultimate recycler,” says Jan Henderson, CFO and third-generation dairy farmer who helps oversee the business operations of this 6,000-acre farm in Trenton. Jan and her family have one foot in traditional farming and the other in the high-tech world of renewable energy, thanks to their methane digester that allows them to turn cow manure into energy.
Jan’s love of agriculture started around the age of 10 when she relocated to Chiefland from western New York. Her family had been involved with dairy farming since grandparents Ron and Ruth St. John Sr. began farming. They later handed the reins to her father Ron St. John in 1968. The farm known today as Alliance Dairies came about in 1990.
The Trenton free-stall dairy is home to more than 5,800 cows. Alliance also operates three grazing dairies nearby.
A key reason for the company’s success has always been the family’s commitment to sustainability and renewable resources.
“I truly believe the statement that farmers were the first environmentalists, and I wish the consumer knew how highly skilled our employees must be to produce high-quality milk while being good stewards of the environment, cows and land,” Jan says. Aside from her work on the farm, Jan sits on the Florida Farm Bureau Advisory Board and the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Council.
“We’re proud of what we’ve done here because we’re powering ourselves,” she says. It’s that kind of forward thinking that allows Alliance Dairies to be a prosperous and meaningful family business for Jan, husband Skipper and their son.