Bland Farms names new CEO
Bland Farms, pioneer of the Vidalia sweet onion and international leader in the category, appointed Troy Bland as the company’s new CEO, rising from his former position as the company’s chief operating officer.
Troy’s appointment to CEO was an organizational transition mapped out by Delbert Bland, president, and Bryce Edmonson, Bland Farms’ previous CEO. Edmonson will remain involved as a senior advisor for Bland Farms, while Delbert Bland will continue in his current role as owner and president.
“Troy has grown up in the business. He works hard and it’s rewarding to see what he’s accomplished,” said Delbert Bland. “The title is new, but as COO he's been doing the work along with me and Bryce for the last 4 years. Troy has the respect of the entire organization and has earned this. Troy is doing what he loves--running Bland Farms, and I’m doing what I love--selling onions."
Troy Bland has enjoyed a lifelong career at Bland Farms, embracing the family farming tradition, beginning at the age of 10. He has worked in numerous disciplines at the farm, including Assets & Procurement, Quality Director, Director of Operations and Chief of Operations where he was over all the packing facilities in Peru, Mexico, Texas and Georgia. Bland was appointed last year to the FVIAC advisory board by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue; served on the Georgia REACH Board, which provides academic and social support to at risk students; and is past Chairperson for the Vidalia Onion Committee.
Troy Bland’s promotion to CEO sees a third generation of the Bland Family take on the chief executive role at the company, started by his grandfather Raymond Bland more than 70 years ago.
“I’ve learned so much from Delbert and Bryce, and I’m humbled to be taking over now. We’ve been planning this transition for a year. I don’t think you ever feel completely prepared, but after 2020 I think I am ready for anything,” Bland said. “At Bland Farms we have great people at every level, so I know I’m not doing this alone. Together, we will continue to grow and embrace innovation to meet our customers ever-changing needs; while remembering our roots in family and faith.”
In addition, Bland Farms announced improvements to their packing facility. The state-of-the art facility now entirely maintains a controlled atmosphere from the moment onions come in from the field until they are loaded for delivery.
“It’s a giant leap in the industry. The industry has been sizing and packing in open air buildings. Having a complete CA facility allows us to precisely control the humidity, airflow and temperature throughout every stage of the drying and packing process to consistently deliver a better-quality sweet onion with a longer shelf-life,” said Troy Bland.
The innovative controlled atmosphere facility aligns with Bland’s efforts to be more sustainable. Additionally, all the new forklifts are electric. The entire facility will be computer controlled, further reducing energy use and waste.
“Being efficient and good stewards is just part of what we think is good business,” Troy added. “In addition to what we’ve done for years to protect the land, and the investments we’ve made to improve the efficiency of our operation, we continue to look for ways to reduce packaging waste, like our e-pack bag that uses 80 percent less plastic and is 100 percent recyclable over the traditional full wrap bags.”
Photo: Troy and Harris Bland