Yoder To Launch Three New Brands

Yoder To Launch Three New Brands

Right after the big announcement that Syngenta purchased Yoder’s pot mum, garden mum and aster lines, we asked Yoder Brothers’ President Bill Rasbach what will happen with the rest of the company moving forward. It turns out, we will be seeing three new names for three key divisions of what was Yoder Brothers.

GG: Syngenta had been exploring purchasing Yoder for some time to complete its crop mix with mums. What made Yoder decide the time was right to sell?

Rasbach: There were a couple of things involved. One is that we had been working with Fides in Europe the past 10 years and last year they decided to start their own breeding on pot and garden mums. Since they became a competitor, we needed someone else to represent us in Europe. Syngenta, with its strong distribution in Europe, was the best fit. I don’t think people realize the majority of pot mums in Europe are Yoder varieties.
The second reason was financial security and what’s going on in the market with consolidation. We felt the time was right and the sale would provide us with funding to do what we want to with our other lines.

GG: Three of the former Flower Fields partners are now owned by Syngenta–Fischer, Goldsmith and Yoder. There obviously was a desire to work together even before consolidated ownership. How has consolidation become a necessary direction for our industry?

Rasbach: It is kind of unique that three of the four companies were bought by Syngenta. When we were all involved with The Flower Fields alliance, we perceived the need to cooperate more to fill the requirements of the big boxes. Instead of four companies filing in the door independently, we could present a united front. What we weren’t able to accomplish as a group of individual companies, Syngenta can and has the resources to do. Both approaches were trying to address the needs of the big box customer but from a different perspective–one large company instead of three entrepreneurial companies without enough resources to pull it off. The need to service big box buyers is pushing back to genetics and raw materials with the growers in between.

GG: The Yoder brand and legacy will follow the pot mum and garden lines. How will there be more potential for these lines globally under Syngenta?

Rasbach: In my mind, Syngenta provides things that will be positive for our product line, specifically the capital required to mitigate risks. Three or four years ago, Hurricane Wilma caused $5 million worth of damage to our farm in Alva, Fla. In the future, Syngenta will have the resources to overcome this type of disaster. If Quarantine-37 goes away, we would have had to build farms in South America or Africa to compete. Syngenta already has offshore production sites. It’s important to note that we are not selling the company, retiring and going away. We’re all going to be neighbors on this farm and support Syngenta through the transition. Syngenta is very keen on representing the Yoder name going forward and we are excited about the relationship.

GG: Although mums represent about a fourth of Yoder’s business, they dominated the company’s identity. How will a new name be liberating to create awareness for all the other product lines and activities Yoder is strong in?

Rasbach: We’re excited about not being known as the mum company anymore. Mums and asters represented less than 25 percent of our business, yet Yoder was always known as the mum company. Moving forward, we will be dividing the rest of Yoder Brothers into three units with three new names:
 
– The sales group will be an agency group like Gloeckner or McHutchison. It will sell our products, but also broker products for other companies like Syngenta and Paul Ecke Ranch. In that regard, we will be investing money into creating the most technologically advanced distribution company. We have advantages with our grower and supplier background to understand the needs of companies who supply growers, like Ecke and Raker, as well as what our grower customers’ needs are. We will be investing in information systems to close that gap.

– We will be growing our finished product business. In the past, we always felt like we had handcuffs on us as a supplier of mum cuttings. We were timid about competing on the finished product business. Now we don’t have to be concerned, because we’re not producing mum cuttings anymore. It’s a liberating feeling. Before, we always had to ask how it would impact other growers buying our mums. Now that is taken off our shoulders. We are in a unique position as a finished product grower with operations in Canada and Florida, and the times of year we can provide the best products with reduced energy costs and increased quality. We will be able to do unique things with products out of season, or growing them just a little bit differently.

– We did not sell our cut mum lines, which are a vastly larger market than pot mums worldwide. Yoder is a major breeder of cut mums in South America with major market share. The opportunity to take those genetics to the same supermarket people buying potted plants is a whole new opportunity to provide them with a fuller basket of products.

– Our young plants division will produce perennial URCs and liners, hibiscus liners, dormant azaleas, Poulsen roses and Suntory Sun Parasol mandevillas for other growers. We will have the wherewithal to solidify our presence in those markets and will build on what we’ve always been known for–reliability and technical expertise.

GG: Can we expect the new names to roll out at Short Course?

Rasbach: The new names will roll out shortly, but our final use of the Yoder name will go away before Short Course. We want to support Syngenta’s association with the name. We will have an umbrella company, but will focus on making the three divisions as independent as possible with three separate names and identities. We have until July to wear out our clothes with the Yoder logo.

GG: How will Yoder still be involved in research and development to create new plants?

Rasbach: We’re going to continue breeding cut mums, hibiscus, azaleas and perennials. We also didn’t sell the Igloo mums, the hardy fall mum, which is planted like a perennial. It’s quite a line and series, which will move to our perennial product offering. We will continue breeding in all those lines, just not pot mums and garden mums. We will work with other breeders, as well. Yoder still brings a sales force and truck lines from Florida. We’re still known for our production processes and planning. Examples include the HBA hydrangeas, Suntory Sun Parasol® mandevillas and our Blooms of Bressingham® activities with breeders around the world. New products and breeding are in our blood. You’ll continue to see new products come from us.

GG: What will be the challenges ahead?

Rasbach: For the industry, consolidation activity is not over. Until it has worked its way through, it will continue to be a challenge for everyone.

Energy is an issue–the cost of raw energy and energy used to produce all of the inputs for our products. We looked at the European model and decided to focus on growing products in their natural growing season. It’s even better if you can grow plants outside without the use of energy. We grow hydrangeas outside and force them inside. Garden mums are excellent outside. We grow our stock outside in Florida. We need to produce products that don’t consume extra fossil fuel energy. We believe strongly in sustainability and reducing our energy inputs. There are numerous products this industry could produce that don’t need a lot of energy. Our focus will be on these types of products in the future; our perennial product line can be a source for these types of products.

Last but not least, is the availability of capital to fund all the changes needed for the industry to be successful. This is not just the recent banking crisis, but a chronic issue for our industry. Fides is successful with Kirin standing behind it. Suntory is out there. Syngenta is out there. Probably more will come with that type of association.

I don’t see a shortage of demand, but rather getting organized to supply that demand.

GG: Is there anything you’d like to say to Yoder’s long-term mum customers?

Rasbach: We’ll still be involved as a technical and sales resource. We’d like to thank everyone in the industry–customers, brokers, universities and associates with our mum product line for more than 85 years. All the support is really appreciated. We feel very comfortable that the Yoder name and product lines are in good hands with Syngenta, otherwise we would not have done it. We’re sitting next door to them and will do everything we can to assure the transition is a good one. It’s been a great ride and we owe a lot of people an awful lot.

Leave a Reply

More From Varieties...
Hibiscus Hollywood Gossip Queen

January 24, 2017

29 New Flowering and Foliage Plants from TPIE 2017

The Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE) was the place to be Jan. 18-20 to catch a peek at some of the new plant introductions making their first appearance on the market.

Read More
Quick Plug

January 24, 2017

Dümmen Orange Acquires Quick Plug, a Cutting Compost Supplier

Quick Plug technology is designed to open up opportunities for automation and robotization of several product groups and add quality to rooted products.

Read More
EPCOT Suntory Princettia Euphorbia

January 23, 2017

Princettia Euphorbias Charm Vacationers at Disney Resorts

Suntory’s Princettia euphorbias have brought a new color palette to the holiday landscapes at Walt Disney World’s resorts and theme parks in central Florida.

Read More
Latest Stories
Hibiscus Hollywood Gossip Queen

January 24, 2017

29 New Flowering and Foliage Plants from TPIE 2017

The Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE) was the place to be Jan. 18-20 to catch a peek at some of the new plant introductions making their first appearance on the market.

Read More
Quick Plug

January 24, 2017

Dümmen Orange Acquires Quick Plug, a Cutting Compost Su…

Quick Plug technology is designed to open up opportunities for automation and robotization of several product groups and add quality to rooted products.

Read More
EPCOT Suntory Princettia Euphorbia

January 23, 2017

Princettia Euphorbias Charm Vacationers at Disney Resor…

Suntory’s Princettia euphorbias have brought a new color palette to the holiday landscapes at Walt Disney World’s resorts and theme parks in central Florida.

Read More
Youngs Plant Farm Trial Garden feature

January 21, 2017

Don’t Miss the Southern Garden Tour This June

Growers, retailers, and all industry professionals are invited to the 2017 Southern Garden Tour, which is hosted by Young’s Plant Farms, Sakata, and Metrolina Greenhouses, and will be held June 6-8.

Read More
Gaillardia 'Mesa Red'

January 21, 2017

2016 Pike Creek Horticulture Center Field Trials Result…

Check out the 2016 field trials results for The Pike Creek Horticulture Center in Kenosha, WI.

Read More
Anna Chernyavsky

January 20, 2017

New Director of Sales for Bedding Plants and Perennials…

Anna Chernyavsky, who joined Danziger in August 2016, will be in charge of the U.S. and United Kingdom markets.

Read More
Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer BloomStruck’ (Bailey Nurseries)

January 19, 2017

Bailey Nurseries Hosting Spring Previews in February

The previews, which provide education, new variety information, and retail support programs, will take place in Illinois, Minnesota, and Boston.

Read More
Selecta Sponsor bed at Raker trial gardens

January 18, 2017

2016 C. Raker & Sons Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for C. Raker & Sons in Litchfield, MI.

Read More
Joe Cimino, Sakata Seed America

January 17, 2017

Sakata Seed Names New Senior Sales Manager for Ornament…

Joe Cimino comes to Sakata with past experience at Sun Gro and Florexpo.

Read More
JinPin Flower Seedling Company partners

January 17, 2017

Ernst Benary Partners With Chinese Young Plant Grower o…

The partnership creates a new company called Jinpin Flower Seedling Company, which will focus on providing young plants to the rapidly growing Chinese bedding plant market.

Read More
Dipladenia Sundenia

January 11, 2017

New Tropical and Foliage Plants That Offer Hidden Benef…

Tropical and foliage plants can offer extra paybacks to your customers in terms of health-promoting benefits such as filtering the air, reducing stress, and absorbing noise. Consider these new varieties, hitting the retail market in 2017, for your product mix.

Read More
craspedia-golf-beauty-danziger-feature

January 9, 2017

Growing Tips for Craspedia ‘Golf Beauty’

Laura Robles of Mast Young Plants offers advice on ‘Golf Beauty,’ a novelty plant with can’t-miss yellow flower heads and silver foliage that blooms throughout the summer.

Read More
Bride with wedding orchids.

January 7, 2017

How to Stand Out in the Orchid Market

With the popularity of the Phalaenopsis orchid growing and its saturation in the market, orchid growers are hunting for new ways to stand out from their competitors.

Read More
California Coast

January 3, 2017

Expect Big Changes for California Spring Trials 2017

California Spring Trials 2017 will be here before you know it. Find out what you can look forward to and get a head start on planning and registering for your trip.

Read More
Begonia Whopper Experimental

January 2, 2017

2016 The Ohio State University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

Read More
westerlay-orchids-feature

January 1, 2017

How Westerlay Orchids Solved Its Bacteria Problem

Water-borne bacteria was causing havoc with Westerlay Orchids’ production, so the company took preventative action to ensure the health of its plants.

Read More
nepeta-purple-wave-with-roses

December 30, 2016

Allan Armitage: Plants That Can Bring Success in the Ne…

Are you wondering which plants to grow? Here are some perennials, annuals, and herbs that are gaining popularity.

Read More
Honeybelle combo

December 27, 2016

19 New Combos for Containers Big and Small

Check out 19 combos and mixes new for the retail marketplace in 2017 that offer something for every container type.

Read More