GLENNVILLE, Ga. G& R Farms opens the new season with increased acreage, expanded handling capacity and more family involvement.
G& R added a bagging machine to increase packing capacity, installed a 14th cooler that provides 50,000 bushels of storage, and upped its acreage from 800 acres last season to 950 acres this year, said Walt Dasher, co-owner.
G& R expects to ship up to 600,000 40-pound equivalent cartons this season, up from the nearly 450,000 cartons it shipped last year, Dasher said.
Co-owned and run by Walt Dasher, Robert Dasher and Pam Dasher, wife of the late Gerald Dasher who died in 2003, G& R is a third-generation family-run business that has fourth-generation family involvement.
"We now have six family members that are active," Walt Dasher said.
"That gives us more than any other grower out there."
Involved in growing operations since college, Heath Dasher and Blake Dasher, the sons of partner Walter Dasher, run the farm as farm manager and assistant farm manager, respectively.
Another Blake Dasher, the 24-year-old nephew of Walt Dasher, recently joined as packinghouse manager.
After leaving the U.S. Marines, the younger Blake Dasher started parttime and retains a solid Marines work ethic, Walt Dasher said.
"He has that military detail where everything has to be perfect," Walt Dasher said.
"That has its pros and cons, and one can go overboard with that stuff, but it helps."
With family members involved in every aspect of the business, Walt Dasher said it provides a little more security knowing he has serious eyes in every area.
He said that helps each member pull in the same direction and work toward the common goal of increasing onion sales.
Moving onions from the field faster to remove field heat, G& R plans to try some different harvesting methods, Dasher said.
The changes involve new clipping and harvesting practices as well as packinghouse improvements that he said should speed efficiency.
G& R made the improvements to prevent overexposure of the crop to weather.