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Producing Excellence

Todd Johnson

Council Bluffs, IA

Dallas Johnson Greenhouse

Products Raised or Grown: Annual and perennial plants

Size of Operation: 60 acres of greenhouses

In Business Since: 1984

Farm Credit Partner: Farm Credit Services of America

Working with Farm Credit Since: 1996

Each Spring, Americans across the country fill their yards and window boxes with colorful, flowering plants and start herb and vegetable gardens to add flavor to their homemade meals. In the Midwest, tens of millions of these plants are grown by Dallas Johnson Greenhouse, a wholesale producer that delivers its crop to major retailers in 12 states.

The 25th largest greenhouse operation in the country, Dallas Johnson Greenhouse was founded in 1985 with just one acre of greenhouse production. Today, the company boasts 60 acres of greenhouses, quadrupling in size in just the past 15 years. These greenhouses, along with a dedicated staff, grow and ship 80 million plants a year, most in the 12-week spring season. “We average 25 to 30 semi trucks a day in the spring,” says Todd Johnson, president and CEO of the company that was founded by his father.

While spring represents 85% of Dallas Johnson Greenhouse’s sales, they are a year-round business, selling mums in the fall and Poinsettias for the winter holidays. The company has also learned that it is fairly recession proof, growing in what has been a sluggish economy as consumers trade expensive vacations for more modest home and yard improvements. Also supporting the company’s success is a commitment to reinvesting in the company to continually improve systems and facilities, improvements that are financed with help from Farm Credit Services of America. Advanced technologies are part of these systems, including automated watering and climate control, and one of Dallas Johnson’s greenhouses sports a roof-top weather sensor that interfaces with these systems to regulate things like temperature and irrigation.

Much of Dallas Johnson Greenhouse’s growth is predicated on meeting the demand created by the growth of live plant sales at mass merchandisers. More though, the success of the company is a result of an unwavering commitment to quality. Beyond simply growing vibrant, healthy plants, these plants need to remain healthy and appealing once they’ve been delivered. “A crop can be ruined in a few minutes,” Todd says. To help retailers showcase the plants for optimal health – and optimal sales – Dallas Johnson Greenhouse has a team of trained merchandisers who work directly with retailers to ensure that they know how to properly water the plants, set up displays and load racks. “If we can get the product to the stores looking beautiful, they don’t stay on the shelves very long,” says Todd.

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