November 11, 2008

Commit To Being Green by Mark Elzinga

Sustainability will not only continue to be an issue in the minds of consumers but will one day drive the very decisions they make. The companies that realize this will be the ones ultimately successful in the coming years. For the sake of the planet’s future, we cannot allow sustainability to become a fad. The earth is a closed “system” which is adversely affected by decreases in its renewable and non-renewable resources, as well as increases in poisonous emissions. Keep in mind that anything diminished at a rate of 2 percent a year will only be half as much in 25 years. The same concept applies to anything that multiplies. With the widening consumption of previously non-industrialized third-world countries, the rate of exhaustion of the earth’s resources has become even more accelerated–as will the emissions that follow. It is this ever-increasing depletion of our global resources that has forced more […]

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November 11, 2008

Greenhouse Grower At 25

Greenhouses are mighty engines of production, and the growers who run them are combining sophisticated and delicate methods of growing plants with the practicalities of a profit-and-loss statement. It has long been an objective to have a publication solely for this expanding industry, and this goal is being realized with this, our premier issue. With these words, I introduced the inaugural issue of Greenhouse Grower in January l983. This issue was a step in the evolution of a long-range plan which began with coverage in American Vegetable Grower of the astonishing growth of bedding plant production. As that coverage grew and grew, it soon became evident it deserved its own title and its own publication. Looking Back That inaugural issue, 25 years ago, pledged our best efforts to provide the most informative editorial, graphics, circulation and advertising to instruct, stimulate and update growers, suppliers, trade associations and professional floriculturists. Little […]

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November 11, 2008

What It Will Take To Grow Our Industry

Twenty-five years ago, who could have possibly seen the industry shaped in its current form? The rise of the big box stores? New labor-saving technology? The call for sustainability? This kind of growth might have been scoffed at 25 years ago. But we’re here, and the sky should indeed be the limit for our progression over the next 25 years. How will we operate in 2033? Will the big box stores still be around? What kind of technology will we using then? And what about sustainability? Look how far it’s come over the last few years–so just think where it will be in the next 25. To sort out the next 25 years, we invited 25 industry experts to contribute essays on what they think it will take to grow our industry. Their expertise spans growing, production, technology, associations, academia, retail and marketing. To them, the future holds no limits. […]

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November 11, 2008

Readying For Next Gen by Al Gerace

A look to the future must start with where we are today and what got us here. Looking at our own firm, Welby Gardens, we’ve had about an eight-fold increase in total revenue over the past 25 years and a five-fold increase in physical plant. What were the major factors behind this growth, and will those trends sustain continued growth? In the mid-1960s Welby Gardens staked out an independent regional marketing course, partnering with independent garden centers and innovative commercial and estate landscapers under the Hardy Boy brand. Welby established a dynamic system of introducing and recognizing new trends at the frontline of active retail and at the cutting edge of both lifestyle landscape and plants that really work at 55 miles an hour. The challenge for the ongoing future is not the “what” or “with whom,” but the “how do we” present our products to capture the imagination of […]

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November 11, 2008

Pushing Plastics by Cal Diller

Moving forward over the next 25 years, recovering and recycling plastics will be critical to the future of the greenhouse floriculture industry. Plastic continues to be the most energy efficient, lightweight and durable material for growing and packaging plants. The advent of plastic flats, inserts, pots and plug trays helped revolutionize the industry and its production and merchandising systems Our family has been in the horticultural container business for over 60 years. We started with a sawmill-making wooden (cedar) greenhouse flats. Many bedding plants used to be grown in an open flat (11 by 22 inches). At retail, they would cut plants from the flat and wrap them in newspaper. Plastic began showing up in the horticultural container industry in the late 1950s. At the urging of our customers we began producing thermoformed plastic containers in 1962. Plastic really helped fuel the growth within the industry by making it easier […]

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November 11, 2008

Guidelines To Success by Will Carlson

It may be that no one can accurately predict the future 25 years from now or even imagine what our industry will look like. However, 25 years ago, when Dick Meister and I decided to start Greenhouse Grower magazine, his words of wisdom were, “If it is to be, it’s up to me,” so here are my thoughts on what a “grower” will be in 2033. I’ll never forget what Neil Mast, a good old Dutch grower, told me about 25 years ago when I said, “You need to get a computer.” He said, “Will, my mother and father gave me a computer when I was born.” I said, “Neil, they didn’t have computers 60 years ago.” He smiled at me and said, “Oh yes they did. My computer is between my two ears and it has more data, information and knowledge in it than any computer you have.” Neil […]

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November 11, 2008

Building Taller & Stronger by Scott Thompson

In order to envision where our structure design and technology will go in the future, one really needs to evaluate the history and current state of production facilities in the industry. Location and climate will continue to dictate the overall design of facilities. Also important is the “labor quotient.” Will a crop demand considerable labor to grow, harvest, pack and ship, or will it be completely automated with equipment that will control uniformity, efficiency and quality control of the product? Over the past 25 years, we have seen greater automation take place within specifically designed buildings to grow specific crops. This specialization allows the designers to narrow their focus and concentrate on the environment required for that particular crop, unit size produced and the rotation of each crop cycle. These design issues, when combined with light, water, heat and cooling implications on the crop, have and will continue to determine […]

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November 11, 2008

Learning To Conserve by A.J. Both

Rising energy costs this century have had a particularly severe impact on the greenhouse industry because structures are generally designed for maximum light transmissions and not maximum heat retention. While fluctuations in future energy prices are likely, the general consensus is that prices will remain high. Energy use and management will continue to have a significant impact on our industry. While it is likely conventional and alternative energy sources will continue to be used by the greenhouse industry, new improved energy collection and storage technologies offer the potential for future commercial greenhouses to be net energy producers rather than energy consumers. Conservation The past three decades have shown that before considering the installation of new energy equipment, it literally paid to operate existing energy systems as efficiently as possible. Over the next decades, it is likely the cost of implementing energy conservation measures will continue to be less than the […]

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November 5, 2008

Oklahoma State University

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Trial Manager: Haldor Howard  Trial Location: Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma City Planting Dates: Last week of May Weather Conditions: Temperatures were warm, becoming consistently quite hot by mid-July. Some night time lows were in the 80s. August was rainy. Best In Show: Capsicum annum ‘Purple Flash’ ornamental pepper–”with showy, purple spackled foliage.” Top 5 Overall: Begonia ‘BIG Red with Bronze Leaf’ from Benary–”with BIG features all around.” Celosia ‘Garden Leader Higro Yellow’ from Grimes Seeds–”with a stately posture.” Impatiens ‘Super Elfin Salmon XP’ from PanAmerican Seed–”with exceptionally strong and consistent flowering.” Petunia ‘Mini-Me Red’ from Cohen Propagation Nurseries–”with compact yet vigorous and floriferous habit.” Zinnia ‘Zahara Coral Rose’ from PanAmerican Seed–”with a nice uniform mounding effect.”

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November 4, 2008

Benchrunner Relay: Don’t Blame Customers For Failures

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery wrote us and his network of growers and suppliers in response to the overwhelming response we received after Hines Horticulture filed for bankruptcy. Many readers commented on our website that big box stores should be to blame, but Montgomery argues the big boxes are breathing life into the industry. Here is what Montgomery wrote: In the October issue of Greenhouse Grower, Delilah Onofrey reported in her editorial “Reading Chapter 11” (page 90) about all the comments received on www.greenhousegrower.com blaming the big boxes for the woes of a large grower whose customers are primarily big boxes. These comments also suggested these large organizations were putting the entire supply chain at risk, as well as lenders and brokers who offer extended terms. Hello! The big boxes are our customers, providing over 7,700 retail outlets and reaching over 150 million consumers per week. Why in the world would […]

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November 4, 2008

Krauskopf Named Honorary Member of MFGC

 The Michigan Floriculture Growers Council (MFGC) recently named Dean Krauskopf an honorary member of the council in recognition of outstanding contributions to the Michigan floriculture industry through university research, teaching, and Extension. Krauskopf has been an MFGC member since its inception. He has served as MSU Extension agent for Southeast Michigan and worked to promote profitability while minimizing environmental impact and conducting educational programs on pesticide and nutrient use, media management and plug production. For more information on MFGC, visit www.mifgc.org.

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November 4, 2008

Unique Michigan Conservatory Breaks Ground

Community leaders in West Bloomfield, Mich., broke ground on the PLANTERRA Conservatory, a 23,000-square-foot conservatory-style facility that will house exotic plants and tropical ornamental foliage, orchids and decorative pottery in the region. The facility is expected to be completed by next fall. Locals are excited about the project because it is expected to fuel the economy and bring more permanent jobs to the area over the long term. About 70 people are currently employed at the conservatory. “This project is the best of all ideas for rejuvenating West Bloomfield,” says L. Brooks Patterson, a county executive. The PLANTERRA Conservatory’s inventory will feed Planterra Corporation’s interior landscaping business, but everything in the conservatory’s collection will be open for public viewing in a botanical garden-like experience. The project is also special because of its structure. The conservatory will comprise three adjoining glass greenhouse structures with European hipped rooflines. For more information on […]

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November 4, 2008

Ones To Watch: Lawrence Ohlman III

As part of Greenhouse Grower’s 25th anniversary, we are profiling people we expect to shape the industry for the better over the next 25 years. Now in its 19th week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with Lawrence Ohlman III of Ohlman Farm & Greenhouse in Toledo, Ohio. Age–29 His Job–Lawrence is part of the fifth generation family business, Ohlman Farm & Greenhouse, in Toledo, Ohio. He’s currently studying at the University of Toledo, pursuing an MBA in finance and marketing. An Eye For The Future – Innovation and creativity will determine how growers develop over the next quarter-century. Making more local purchases will also become more of a trend. “Working together with local grower groups is imperative to competing in today’s marketplace,” Lawrence says. “The industry needs to be more business-minded for the long haul. Many times, it’s not about growing plants, but business strategy, product development and […]

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November 4, 2008

MSU Students Growing Organic Produce For Cafeteria

Students are growing food for fellow students at Michigan State University’s student organic farm, where a 4,320-square-foot unheated hoop house is providing organic salad greens, carrots and radishes for the university’s Yakeley Hall cafeteria. The hoop house, built at a cost of $20,000, traps enough of the sun’s heat to allow produce to grow during the fall and early months. “In an age of food that is fast, cheap, plastic-wrapped and shipped around the world, a group of people here at MSU came together, took a stand and said, ‘Enough. We can do better,'” says Laurie Thorp, a faculty advisor to the organic farm. To read the full story published in the Lansing State Journal, click here.

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November 4, 2008

Benchrunner Relay: What About The Little Guy?

A month or so has passed, but Hines Horticulture’s bankruptcy situation is still fresh on our minds. Brian Bartels, president of Bartels Plants in West Olive, Mich., is still thinking about it as well. He expressed his concern for those companies affected by the recent development in a letter to us. I just received my October issue of Greenhouse Grower and I am a bit disappointed with the wording of the Hines bankruptcy story (page 12). After mentioning debt of as much as $500 million and assets of less than $50,000 Greenhouse Grower states “The news is certainly disappointing because Hines made strides over the last couple of years to set itself on the right course.” Excuse me did you just say a company that ran up a $499,950,000 debt over asset had made strides to set itself on the right course? You have a rather different idea of what […]

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November 4, 2008

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 […]

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November 4, 2008

Guerilla Gardening At Virginia Tech

The National Honor Society for Horticulture at Virginia Tech University recently launched a service project called Guerilla Gardening, an initiative focused on nonviolent direct action toward cultivating land. Students kicked off the project at night a couple weeks ago by planting pansies, violas and bulbs, and the group hopes to continue with the project throughout the year. “[Students] just kind of take what they think has been misused or what they perceive to be misused or abandoned, and they assign a new purpose to it,” says Sarah Hall, president of the horticulture society. “We figured we’re horticulture majors and we like plants, (so) why not make (campus) beautiful–but do it secretly.” To read the full story published by The Collegiate Times, the university’s student newspaper, click here.

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November 3, 2008

Seats On Sustainable Ag Standards Committee Open

Nearly 200 people applied to serve on the standards committee earlier this year and only 58 were chosen, but three seats are now open after three members recently resigned. The committee also elected its leadership this week, and Will Healy of Ball Innovations is among it. Healy, research and technical manager at Ball Innovations, was elected secretary. “The problem today is that the agricultural heritage of America is being lost,” Healy says. “There are a lot of misunderstandings, misconceptions and misinformation generated about what we as growers do and how this impacts consumers. Identifying a framework and set of indicators for sustainability will provide us all with a target to move toward, improve our production systems and enhance our products in ways that are not only better for the environment but for growers and consumers also.” Other elected officials include: – Marty Matlock, director of the Center of Agricultural and […]

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November 3, 2008

SNA Disaster Relief Forum Helping Those In Need

The Atlantic and Gulf Coast states were battered during hurricane season, but the Southern Nursery Association’s (SNA) Disaster Relief Committee played a role in keeping growers afloat with an online forum to share information and help those in need. The forum should also play a role as a grower tool in the coming months if growers encounter wintry dilemmas. The forum is hosted on the SNA Web site at www.sna.org, and it’s available for anyone who wants to communicate or stay informed regarding an ongoing situation or natural disaster. “After Hurricane Ike hit Texas, we offered the forum to the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association,” says Andy Zimlich, chair of the committee. “Any state or local association who needs to use the forum is welcome to do so.”

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October 29, 2008

Syngenta Buys Yoder’s Mum And Asters Lines

Syngenta followed up its purchase of Goldsmith Seeds last week by acquiring the chrysanthemum and aster product lines from Yoder Brothers today. Syngenta now owns the rights to the genetics and breeding programs for Yoder’s chrysanthemum and aster lines, along with the Yoder brand name. The remaining Yoder entities will continue to be owned and operated by Yoder Brothers and will do business under the Yoder name until next July. The name will then change, Syngenta Flowers President Gary Falkenstein says, to one that better reflects their remaining businesses. “The pot mums are a great addition to our poinsettias, cyclamen, gerbera daisy and other pot crops,” Falkenstein says. “We are excited about how the acquisition reinforces our promise of innovation, quality and reliability.” The acquisition will have the following impacts on you and the industry: – Syngenta will continue to service customers with Yoder brand mums and asters from its […]

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