Big Grower September 2021 - 6

The pandemic is far from over. " We're still
going through this crisis to a degree, " shares
Todd. " The whole COVID hiccup is creating quite
a shortfall in a lot of areas. Labor is one, and the
other is the supply chain, which is completely
flipped upside down. "
Procuring supplies has become a struggle at
all levels of pretty much every industry. For
growers, the one area that has seen the most
disruption is plastics.
Justin says they are currently planting mums
in whatever they can find because their pots
have still not arrived. They are running into a
similar situation with poinsettias.
Luckily, Dallas Johnson Greenhouses invested
in AutoStix and Ellepot technology three years
ago, which has been a lifesaver during this time.
Justin says they plan to use AutoStix to plant
poinsettia cuttings into Ellepots and let them
root until the plastic arrives.
With mums, they used a similar strategy. " We
As part of its effort to maintain an efficient operation, Dallas Johnson Greenhouses made the transition
to HydraFiber five years ago.
waited 50-60 days to get our [mum containers].
So we were putting the cuttings into a quart
or 5-inch pot. And when the 5-gallon planters
showed up, we just took five of those 5-inch pots
and plopped them into the 5-gallon container. "
The goal for Todd Johnson and the team at
Dallas Johnson Greenhouses has remained the
same over the years - to always focus on quality
(the plants) and service (the staff). Even through
one of the most challenging times in the history
of the business, that focus has never wavered.
When the pandemic began and a bit of
hysteria ensued across all industries, Todd is
proud of the way he and his team handled
the situation.
" Instead of just guessing and pulling back
The company recently invested in AutoStix to speed up planting cuttings.
the opportunity to be successful without a lot of
expertise, " says Todd.
That success begins in the greenhouse and
works its way to the retailer. Todd says the
plants need to be presentable at the store level.
" Make sure that it looks good to start with, and
then they have a fighting chance to maintain
it. When you start off with a poor plant, it goes
backwards really quick. Then they lose interest
because they fail immediately. "
Early on, finding less expensive genetics
was a common practice. But Todd says he has
learned over the years that the genetics are
the primary source of future garden success. "
So, we pay the extra cost to make sure that the
genetics meet the highest standards, " he says.
" This has also increased costs a little bit, but on
the back side, we have less loss, less shrink. "
Justin shares, " At the end of the day, I want
to grow something good. Then it will sell at
retail, and the retailer is calling back to order
more. "
Demand has been high the past two seasons;
there is no question about that. But no one
could have predicted that we were on the
verge of a global pandemic, let alone all the
repercussions that go along with it. While the
plant industry as a whole fared well, it did not
come easy for plant producers.
on production, we stayed on course. We didn't
change any of our planning, " he says. " We stayed
with the forecast that we had put in place, and
we kept pumping stuff out even though there
was a lot of anxiety at the time. We stayed with
the game plan, and I think that was the thing
that brought us through in a positive light. "
Nearly two years later, the game plan has not
shifted. Todd and Justin are both laser focused
on strengthening the team at Dallas Johnson
Greenhouses and ready to make additional
investments when the time is right.
In a perfect world, Todd says he would add
another 10 acres now to continue to meet
customers' demands. But he is waiting for the
supply side to catch up and pricing pressure to
go down. He says, " Before, it used to be that the
labor issue was my big mitigating circumstance
for expanding. Now it's the supply side and
cost pressures. "
One of Justin's biggest goals within the last
two or three years is building the team. He says
many staff members are two to 10 years away
from retirement. " That's been my focus - trying
to find people who already have that leadership
skill set, " he says. " And we've actually had a few
people step up into a management role after
only being here for two seasons. "
He pridefully shares, " In the 14 years that I've
been here, this is by far the strongest team that
we've had. "

Big Grower September 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Big Grower September 2021

Big Grower September 2021 - 1
Big Grower September 2021 - 2
Big Grower September 2021 - 3
Big Grower September 2021 - 4
Big Grower September 2021 - 5
Big Grower September 2021 - 6
Big Grower September 2021 - 7
Big Grower September 2021 - 8
Big Grower September 2021 - 9
Big Grower September 2021 - 10
Big Grower September 2021 - 11
Big Grower September 2021 - 12