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Bland Farms sees good Vidalia pricing ahead

Bland Farms, located in Glennville, GA, is a top grower and shipper of sweet onions, planting in Georgia and then going up to Peru, Mexico, Texas before returning to Georgia.

“What makes our deal work is supply and demand,” said Delbert Bland, owner and president of the family-run company. “The onions have been a pretty good crop in Peru and they are just finishing up now, and they had good quality. Coming into Mexico, the onion supply is very limited this year, down in volume. The country typically ships a lot of yellows to the U.S., but consumption is short and a lot of volume is staying in Mexico.”

delbert-standing-in-field-The Vidalia onion crop looks strong so far, noted Delbert Bland.In turn, there’s been more demand than normal, creating a strong market for Bland Farms’ onions. As of early March, the 40-pound box of yellows was in the low $20s, and the white onions were hovering around $30.

“Texas, over the last several years has been downsizing because there’s been an oversupply so there’s less acreage than they’ve had for many years, so there’s not going to be a relief for the sweet onion deal after you leave Mexico,” Bland said. “Texas is short, Mexico was short, and coming into Vidalia, it looks like they will be the only sweet onion really out there during the months of April and May.”

The Vidalia crop looks strong so far, though wet conditions in December meant the crop couldn’t be laid out as early as many would have liked, and Bland noted some acres weren’t planted, and others weren’t planted until late January.

“That’s just too late to have a full crop. It will be good quality, but it won’t be anything close to what they would have if they had set them out back in December,” Bland said. “It looks like we are headed into a very strong spring onion deal.”

Over the last two to three years, the market has been on the low side, which has caused margins at Bland Farms to be cut slim, so this new development will turn things around as Bland expects a decent price in 2019.

“You never quit in this business,” Bland said. “You have to get up every day and do all you can do, and even that isn’t always enough. It’s a difficult business, but it’s a fun business. The biggest challenge we have is that Mother Nature is in charge of the crop no matter what we do. What we try to do to generate stability is to diversify in different areas.”

That’s why Bland Farms grows in so many areas. They don’t need to just hope for the best in one area, but have several options from different regions.

“You have to do what’s best for your company and look out for your customers,” Bland said.

“That’s why we continue to do what we do, the best way we know how,” he added.