Seeing Short Course
Young people, pricing woes and award winners were abundant at OFA Short Course.
September 22, 2008
At OFA Short Course in July, a new event really got me thinking about the people that make up this industry. OFA's Generation Next committee held a great event at Short Course called Unplugged - a social event for attendees 35 years old and under (or 35 or younger at heart), which included a bluegrass band and the D.S. Cole Growers hockey fundraiser benefitting America In Bloom.
Unplugged made me look around at the people in the room who are making serious contributions to this industry and made me think -- hey, young people are getting it done. OFA told us that it expected around 75 attendees, but actually had around 250, including John Clark, landscape foreman for H.J. Benken Floral Home and Garden and Generation Next committee member.
"It shows a lot for Generation X because I think they are ready to take the ball and run with it," John told me. There are some smart, dedicated people in this group. Maybe we don't realize how many are out there until we put them together in one room. Don't count the youngins out!
Be like Stuart Smalley and repeat after me, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and doggone it, people like me." The Grower Town Hall meeting at OFA Short Course was titled Rising Prices - The Achilles Heel Of Our Industry. From listening to those of you that shared in the discussion, it's no wonder consumers can't put their fingers on what a plant should cost.
Growers' views of the perceived value of their own products varies wildly. Stay strong and don't be afraid to raise prices. You may think that taking a plug or cutting and raising it to finish isn't magical, but it is to consumers out there who can't and don't do it themselves. While the call for rising costs may be easier for grower-retailers to swallow, some grower voiced concerns that even keeping prices level is a challenge. If there are growers out there willing to undercut your prices, just think of one example that was mentioned at the Town Hall.
If the grower down the street from you charges 10 cents less than you do, don't be surprised to see his or her operation shut down not too far in the future.
Excellence All Around
Congratulations to Selecta First Class and Benary Seed. Selecta's 'MiniFamous Double Pink' calibrachoa is the winner of Greenhouse Grower's Medal of Excellence Industry's Choice award for breeding and Benary's Nonstop Mocca begonias won our Editor's Choice award. The winners were announced at Short Course. Read more about all the Medal of Excellence winners in the September issue of Greenhouse Grower, along with all the new products, big news and events that GG editors saw at Short Course.
Sara Tambascio is senior online editor of Greenhouse Grower. You can eMail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follower her on Twitter @Sara_GG_TGC.