Case Study: Lusk Onion Company

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Lusk Onion Answers the Cry for Block and Half Pallets

The Opportunity
Help one of America’s biggest pumpkin growers meet seasonal demand and a major Texas retailer’s requirement for half pallets.

The Solution
Collaborate with CHEP on a comprehensive approach that includes CarbonNeutral® half pallets, on-site pallet storage and managed recovery.

A sustainability and retail success story

Ever heard of Yugoslavian Fingers? They’re one of many specialty pumpkins and gourds gaining popularity with consumers, and one of many products grown by Lusk Onion, a family-owned farm in Dalhart, Texas.

Since shifting from onions to pumpkins 12 years ago, Lusk Onion has become one of America’s largest pumpkin growers. On its 1,400+ acres, Lusk Onion grows 50-60 varieties of pumpkins and ships to retailers throughout the Southwest.

Terry Lusk, who owns the farm with his brother Dan, turned to longtime partner CHEP when a major Texas retailer requested a smaller pallet for the smaller pumpkins. Lusk knew CHEP’s consistent, durable 40x24-inch CarbonNeutral® pooled half pallet would fit the need and the retail footprint. CHEP’s “share and reuse” business model is inherently sustainable; CHEP also achieves net zero carbon emissions for the half pallet by supporting the Mississippi Valley Reforestation Project. Learn more.

We’re here to please retailers. The CHEP half pallet is a real winner with produce managers, and we also get a lot of compliments from store managers.

Terry and Dan Lusk Owners/Partners, Lusk Onion Company

Lusk Onion Company

“Retailers really like the CHEP half pallet,” Lusk says. “CHEP half pallets take up less space and the stores do not have to order as much at one time.”

The farm also benefits from CHEP’s on-site storage and managed recovery program. Lusk Onion joined CHEP’s customer storage program in 2018 and stores up to 19,000 pallets on-site per season, helping it prepare for peak season. At harvest time, Lusk Onion uses more than 80,000 CHEP pooled 48x40-inch block pallets in two months.

“The storage program helps us and CHEP,” he says. “We’re not so pressed by the risk of running out of pallets, and CHEP doesn’t have the challenge of getting all those pallets to us in such a short time.”

In a 9-year period, Lusk Onion achieved significant environmental savings by using 551,545 CHEP pooled pallets.

  • Avoided more than 234,000 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, the equivalent of driving nearly 264,000 miles, or about 10 times around the Earth, by an average passenger vehicle.
  • Eliminated nearly 311,000 pounds of solid waste from landfill.
  • Demonstrated verifiable results, beginning with CHEP’s use of 99.7% certified timber (PEFC and FSC certifications) all the way to the eradication of empty miles.

With the storage program proving to be a win-win, CHEP and Lusk Onion collaborated on another option: managed recovery. Lusk receives CHEP’s pooled pallets directly from distribution centers and retailers; sorts them using CHEP quality standards; stores the pallets that pass the test; and returns the rest to CHEP for repair before reuse. With recovered pallets on hand, the approach improves efficiency, eradicates empty miles and provides measurable sustainability results.

“Retailers require us to report sustainability numbers and what we’re doing,” Lusk says. “Sustainability is becoming more important all the time.”

Lusk says the rugged reliability of CHEP’s pooled platforms also eliminates waste by reducing unsaleables.

“The CHEP pallets are a real Grade A product; we can doublestack the pumpkins and there’s less damage,” Lusk says. “It’s a double plus for us: cost savings and better product arrival.”

“If you’re not using CHEP, you’re missing out.”

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Case Study: Lusk Onion Company | CHEP