Lane Southern Orchards is a 4th Generation Business in the Heart of Georgia
Monday, October 17th, 2011
David Lane overviews his family's business and the Georgia educated agricultural backgrounds it takes to run a successful Georgia family business.
My name is David Lane. I’m with Lane Southern Orchards. We’re located in Ft. Valley, Georgia, which is actually the heart of middle Georgia in Peach County. Our business was started by my great-grandfather in 1908. We’re a hundred-year-old business and I am the 4th generation, but then I have nephews under me that are in the 5th generation. Duke Lane III, for instance, handles the sales and the production at the packing house. We have Philip Rigdon whose mother is Ann Lane. He handles all the farming operations; all the day-to-day traffic. Everything that goes on at the farm goes through Philip.
Both of these guys are University of Georgia educated; agribusiness backgrounds. They’re young, aggressive, and they’re going to take this company to the next level and it’s going to be a really exciting thing to see. You know, when Duke and Bobby and I get, you know, offsite and get to look back on it we’re going to see these young guys really doing a good job with this company. We’re real fortunate to have them. They’re smart, they’re aggressive, they’re on the go, and they’ve got Lane blood in them, so that’s another plus.
I tell you, from the years of experience that I’ve got and what I’ve learned from my cousins Duke and Bobby, and my uncle, Big Duke, Sr., is that to keep a family business like this together is communication. That’s probably the forefront of everything, you know, communicating within the family about the different aspects, because a business like this is scattered out and you’ve got everybody running in different directions. I’ve always said that peach season is like a horserace—it starts off immediately and when it’s over, it’s over immediately. And so you’re in a fast pace, you’ve got a lot going on, so the main thing really is communication and communicating with your customers and the people that are buying from you.
Duke III does an excellent job of communicating with the stores that he deals with. And if I could give any advice, the number one thing would be to tell it like it is. I know that’s an old cliché, but to tell it—if you’ve got peaches that don’t have 80 percent color, tell it—they don’t have 80 percent color. So that all these customers know that on the other end they’re going to get exactly what you told them they were going to get. And they tend to respect you for that more and then they know that when you tell them something that’s it.