Name: Jones Dairy Farm
P.O. Box 808
Fort Atkinson, WI 53538-0808
Products at Costco:
Costco members will find
Jones Dairy Farm pork
sausage links and patties,
Canadian bacon, whole ham
and rack of pork (selection
varies by location).
Comments about Costco:
“Costco challenges us to
think about all aspects of our
business, including ways to
add value for our customers
and creativity to our product
(L to R) Cole, Adele, Ted and
Philip Jones still find time
to relax in front of the farmhouse where Jones Dairy
Farm originated in 1889.
Keeping up with
Farm’s past ensures future success
By T. Foster Jones
I AM NOT RELATED to the Jones Dairy Farm
family. But I did grow up with them. Many
breakfasts over the years with my own Jones
family have included a Jones Dairy Farm product on the table.
It was a real pleasure, then, to visit the
117-year-old business and meet the family
responsible for so many happy meals and
memories of my own, as well as those of
thousands of others through several generations. The Jones Dairy Farm name has, over
the decades, become renowned and respected
around the world.
Set on 300 sprawling acres in Fort Atkinson,
Wisconsin, the farm encompasses the Jones
factory, cornfields, the original farmhouse
where Milo Jones I settled in 1843 and stately
homes where brothers Philip and Cole Jones
and their families continue to live. Nearby,
beyond a gently sloping lawn and past a copse
of overhanging trees, runs the Rock River.
The serene setting belies the fact that just
down the path the Jones factory is running full
speed, producing and shipping hundreds of
thousands of pounds of their products—
sausage, ham, Canadian bacon, bacon, liver sausage and scrapple—each year to the world.
Steeped in the past
In many ways, little has changed since
Milo Jones II forayed into the pork business,
six generations of Joneses ago. A successful
entrepreneur, in 1889 he came up with the
idea of producing sausage using a popular
recipe his mother had brought from Vermont
40 years earlier. Word spread fast, the business
grew and the rest, as they say, is history.
That recipe, created from all-natural
ingredients and spices, and incorporated into
all of the Jones sausage products, has remained
unchanged for 117 years. This all-natural approach, also followed in all of their other pork
products, also remains unaltered. And the
Joneses have been adamant about maintaining the same high quality standards set down
more than 100 years ago.
“We’ve been successful at providing consistent quality to generations,” says Philip
Jones, the company’s current president. “We
are keenly aware of what works.”
Who’s on first?
For a company with such deep roots, one
could understand a reluctance to change. But
the company has been a groundbreaker,
establishing a number of industry firsts.
“One reason we’ve been in business over
multiple generations is a strong entrepreneurial spirit,” says Jones.
In the 1920s, Jones Dairy Farm was the
first meatpacking company to quick-freeze
sausage, facilitating shipping throughout the
United States and abroad without the need
for chemicals or preservatives.
They were the first to introduce a line of
fully cooked breakfast sausage, and, in deference to diet-conscious customers, the first to
offer “light” breakfast sausage products.
Most significant, they became one of the
first meatpacking companies to operate a
modern bacteriological laboratory on-site to
monitor and test for food safety. Testing is
done seven days a week, with close to 100,000
tests per year checking cleanliness, water qual-
ity, temperature and equipment.
The Jones lab has been instrumental in
introducing new testing methods to the industry, and Jones is one of just five food companies
(and the only privately owned company) that
meets the standards set by the American
Association for Laboratory Accreditation, a
nonprofit public service dedicated to the formal recognition of testing laboratories, inspection bodies and proficiency testing.
“Not too many businesses have this kind
of infrastructure,” says Jones. “Some ways may
be quicker or cheaper, but they’re not as accurate. And if you don’t have a clean plant, you
don’t have anything to sell.
“We put a huge emphasis on process and
protocol,” he continues. “It is the future for us
as a company that we are known for quality.”
Past links to future
Although Jones Dairy Farm has been successful for more than a century, it is now gaining a new legion of fans, as the company’s
attachment to the past has put Jones in the
forefront of the all-natural food movement.
“The all-natural trend is more relevant
than ever today,” says Jones, “and it makes
Jones even more relevant. Consumers are
becoming more educated about what they
consume. They want to know that a product
doesn’t have a binder, filler or MSG [monoso-dium glutamate]. It puts us in a good position, because we’ve always been all natural.
“We didn’t have to change to appeal to
the market,” he continues. “We just did what
we’ve always done, and the market came back
to us.” C