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Producing Excellence

Ronnie Sexton

Tyler, TX

Sexton Nurseries

Products Raised or Grown: Rose plants

Size of Operation: 1.5 million wrapped dormant rose bushes and 600,000 container roses annually

In Business Since: 1947

Farm Credit Partner: AgriLand Farm Credit

Working with Farm Credit Since: 1951

Ronnie Sexton jokes that he’s been in the rose business since he was a baby, which isn’t far from the truth.

Back then, the Sexton family rose business was also in its infancy, with his parents starting out selling bare-root roses through his grandparents’ mail-order business. Since then, Sexton Nurseries has experienced remarkable growth – the company’s sales volume has increased by 50 percent over the last 15 years, and today it produces, processes and markets more than two million plants each year.

Change has been key to Sexton Nurseries’ success. Weather shifts in the 1980s forced a move from growing their own crops to contracting for their rose stock with growers in other states, a shift that enabled them to concentrate on processing and marketing. The types of roses and varieties that Sexton Nurseries produces has also evolved. “We used to grow 80 varieties; now we concentrate on 35 of the best-performing varieties,” Ronnie says. “Quality is what we’re interested in. We want the plant to sell itself.”

AgriLand Farm Credit has been the Sexton’s lender of choice since 1950, a relationship built on its reliability and understanding of agribusiness. “There are so many companies out there that are not financially secure. It’s critical that we stand behind the deals we make, and thanks to AgriLand we can do that – that’s a large part of our reputation,” Ronnie says.

Today, Sexton Nurseries markets its roses primarily through national retail and wholesale chains, including three of the largest nursery retailers in the United States. This approach has allowed the company to nurture relationships with its clients, provide better customer service and cultivate its reputation as the rose specialist.

Download a PDF version of this story here.

Photo by Russell Graves