Online Only: Alternatives To Dumping Plants






Normal
0


false
false
false







MicrosoftInternetExplorer4




classid="clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D" id=ieooui>


Don’t grit your teeth just yet. It’s certainly not the most pleasant thought if you’re a wholesale grower or a grower/retailer, but there’s no avoiding the fact something needs to be done with your excess plants once they’ve passed the sellable point.

 

Most times, the unsaleable are likely pitched into a dumpster, stacked onto a compost mountain or tossed into a plant pit somewhere outside your greenhouse. A plant’s life doesn’t have to end because it’s less than perfect, though. Sure, the plant lost its potential to make you a profit, but it still has value in somebody’s garden as a local donation or giveaway – and your good will could indirectly lead to profits later on.

Even if profits won’t be had, your donation is a great promotion of all your products and our entire industry. Just think of all the people who could view your plants in a public garden?

Questions For Your Accountant
Does your donation make you eligible for a tax write-off? Industry consultant Bill McCurry, chairman of McCurry Associates, says it’s highly unlikely because of the fair market value of your plants.

“The Internal Revenue Service allows deduction from income,” he says. “As a general rule, if you have not declared the income, then you cannot deduct. And there are few exceptions.”

So, before you race ahead and write off any donation, McCurry suggests approaching your accountant with these three questions that should deliver tell-all answers:

1. What are the circumstances in which I can declare the fair market value rather than my actual out of pocket costs?

2.  What are the record keeping requirements if circumstances do allow for a deduction at fair market value, and is a third-party appraisal necessary?

3. Am I better off taking a deduction as a marketing expense or as a charitable donation?

“What people want to do is say I may only have the seed and material cost in a plant, but they’ve already written off the labor because they expensed that as time went on,” McCurry says. “They still want to be able to declare the fair market value of it, but that is not looked at favorably by the IRS in most situations.”

 

 

 

“The best thing would be to take our plants and use them as plants and not turn them into mulch or compost,” says Alan Shapiro, owner of Grandiflora, a wholesale nursery in Gainesville, Fla. “When you see things are getting a little long in the tooth, wouldn’t it be better to have a list of organizations you could call?”

Getting Started
Over the years, Shapiro developed a list of organizations to which he donates. The list includes city, county and regional beautification boards, a botanical garden, parks, churches, schools, universities and charities like Habitat For Humanity, Ronald McDonald House and Hospice.

Shapiro didn’t develop the list overnight. He is, however, constantly asked to donate plants, so he figured it made sense to be proactive and set up a network for people to pick up plants that might otherwise become mulch or compost.

 

“I think all these little donations added together lift the human spirit,” Shapiro says. “It’s not a massive ‘wow’ thing. It’s just a lot of little things that enhance our quality of life.”

Patty Howe, community and public relations manager at Al’s Garden Center and Greenhouses in Oregon, takes the same approach as Shapiro in building a list or organizations willing to take unsaleable plants. Howe has cell phone numbers for everybody on her call list, and she asks each organization to pick up donations within a day or two. Most recipients are eager to comply.


“The good will of donating so far exceeds the option of dumping,” Howe says. “We have a call list, of community gardens, churches and schools around three of our stores, and we’ll share plants that are a little ‘too leggy’ to sell.”

 

Because Howe has developed close ties between Al’s and community organizations, most recipients are even willing to return pots for recycling. There’s also potential for publicity in a local newspaper or TV station, she says.

 

Hooked On A Feeling

For a wholesale grower like Grandiflora, the reward of donating excess or less-than-perfect plants is a good feeling because there’s no tax incentive. For a grower/retailer like Al’s, the reward is that feeling plus the potential of actual future business.

 

Every fall, Al’s grows about 50,000 poinsettias for the Christmas season. Last November, Al’s happened to grow a bumper crop of poinsettias because of fantastic fall weather in Oregon.

Al’s could have attempted to sell the extra 1,000 or so poinsettias that grew, but having budgeted about 50,000 for retail in past years, there was no guarantee the extras would sell at its garden centers. So, rather than push the extras at retail, Al’s decided to build some good will in the community by donating hundreds of poinsettias to Loaves & Fishes Centers that serve seniors with their Meals-On-Wheels program.

“Meals-On-Wheels had a distribution system already in place,” Howe says. “Al’s delivered poinsettias to three of the largest Meals-On-Wheels hubs, and their drivers took a hot lunch in one hand and a poinsettia in the other to more than 800 people in their homes.”

Before poinsettias were handed out, Howe sent a press release about the event to local media. Two TV stations made appearances for local news segments, and one of the stations featured Al’s as its feel-good story of the night to cap the broadcast. Howe says the news anchors even made a couple of unscripted comments at the end of the story saying what a great gesture Al’s donation was.

When To Abandon Ship
As rewarding as donations may be for both parties, growers don’t want to get in the habit of donating sellable plants. You’re in business to sell first, and giveaways should be looked at as a last, yet necessary, resort. Because the consumer’s buying habits rapidly change throughout the year, knowing when to give up is the key to making a profit and building good will.

“If you have pansies in mid-February in Florida, there’s a good chance you’re not going to sell them,” Shapiro says. “Pansies can go on blooming for several months, though, so you would be giving away something that will continue to bring pleasure somebody.

The same goes for begonias in June or poinsettias well into December: Why compost a plant that has potential in a public garden?

Donating obviously isn’t the first approach growers prefer to take, but if plants get to the point of no sale, there’s still the possibility of making impressions on potential customers. It only takes one leggy plant or a leftover Easter lily to make an impression. If you’re a grower/retailer, those impressions build your name. And even if you’re a wholesale grower, a donation could result in the beautification of your community or the start of a lifelong hobby for a rookie gardener.

"The donations go so far,” Howe says. “It’s honestly not that much of an effort and it goes a long way.”

 

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Online Only: Alternatives To Dumping Plants

  1. Al’s Garden Center has been a great help in donating over grown plants to the Connect Program, which helps drop – out students get their GED and gain Work Experience. We have used many of Al’s flowers in SOLV projects and in our community park that the program adobted for our soft skills work experience. The donations has helped our students not only make our park look great, but also our school!

  2. Al’s Garden Center has been a great help in donating over grown plants to the Connect Program, which helps drop – out students get their GED and gain Work Experience. We have used many of Al’s flowers in SOLV projects and in our community park that the program adobted for our soft skills work experience. The donations has helped our students not only make our park look great, but also our school!

More From Finance/Operations...
Lavandula 'Meerlo' (Sunset Western Garden Collection)

March 3, 2015

Why You Will Still Grow Today’s Big Perennial 10 Years From Now

What will be the next big perennial? Breeders say it takes more than a splashy plant to distinguish itself in the market. Therefore, the question is not what will be the next big perennial, but rather what perennial performs well enough in the garden to have staying power in the market for years to come.

Read More

March 2, 2015

Avoid Surprises On The Delivery Dock

A call in advance about problems with a plant shipment to a retailer you supply goes a long way toward customer satisfaction.

Read More
Janeen Wright

March 2, 2015

Deliver Plant Quality That Trumps Price [Opinion]

The industry's goal is to have loyal customers who return to the same plants time and time again, not because of price, but owing to a plant brand that shouts top-notch garden performance and is synonymous with excellence, which gives them the secure knowledge that their investment will be worth every hard-earned cent.

Read More
Latest Stories
IPPS Sharing Plant Production Knowledge Globally Logo

February 25, 2015

International Plant Propagators Western Region Sets Ann…

The annual meet for the International Plant Propagators' Society (IPPS) Western Region has been set for this September. It will take place September 23 to 26 in Modesto, Calif., and will include learning sessions, tours to local nurseries, a research poster display and poster presentations, various networking opportunities and an awards banquet to close the event.

Read More
myers industries Lawn and Garden Logo

February 24, 2015

Myers Industries, Inc. Lawn And Garden Business Sold, N…

The management of Myers Lawn and Garden Group, along with Wingate Partners V, L.P. have recently acquired the Myers Industries, Inc. Lawn and Garden business. The new company is named The HC Companies, and will continue as a North American leading provider of horticulture containers supplying the greenhouse, nursery and retail markets.

Read More
american-hort-logo

February 17, 2015

AmericanHort Announces New Board Members

AmericanHort recently announced the election of new officers and members to the board of directors. Each will assume their positions on the board during Cultivate’15, July 11 to 14 in Columbus, Ohio.

Read More
All American Selections

February 17, 2015

All-America Selections Elects New Officers, Names New J…

While meeting during the Flower and Vegetable Seed Conference in Tampa, Fla., hosted by the American Seed Trade Association, All-America Selections elected new officers for a two-year term. Read on to learn about the new officers, as well as all of the new judges that were added in 2014.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower.com on your desktop, on your phone, on your tablet

February 11, 2015

GreenhouseGrower.com Relaunches With Responsive Design …

Greenhouse Grower magazine, the nation’s leader in profits, production and education for greenhouse growers, announces the launch of its completely redesigned website, GreenhouseGrower.com. The new design is the product of direct user feedback and GreenhouseGrower.com analytics, and includes responsive design for ease of mobile use.

Read More
Andy Higgins

February 3, 2015

MasterTag Names Andy Higgins As Its New President

Former CEO and president of Ecke Ranch, Andy Higgins, joins MasterTag as its new president. He brings more than two decades of industry experience to the position.

Read More
Syngenta Bioline Hires Ronald Valentin For Technical Lead Role

January 28, 2015

Syngenta Bioline Hires Ronald Valentin For Technical Le…

Ronald Valentin has been appointed technical lead for Syngenta Bioline, effective January 2015. He will be responsible for technical support of Bioline biological control agents and will be instrumental in helping growers develop integrated pest management (IPM) solutions.

Read More

January 27, 2015

Give Equal Time To The Number Crunchers

Before investing in a new business opportunity, check in with the financial gurus of your organization to make certain you have the cash flow to back up your efforts.

Read More
Plant Introductions, Inc. partners Mark Griffith, Dr. Michael Dirr and Jeff Beasley and Bailey Nurseries President Terri McEnaney.

January 20, 2015

Bailey Nurseries’ Purchase Of Plant Introductions Inc. …

When Bailey Nurseries purchased its long-time breeding partner, Plant Introductions, Inc. (PII), in early January 2015, it freed the PII team to concentrate on what they do best: develop new plants. Bailey Nurseries will take on the business management side of the partnership, but otherwise the relationship it has enjoyed with PII for years will be largely unchanged.

Read More
Plant Introductions, Inc. partners Mark Griffith, Dr. Michael Dirr and Jeff Beasley and Bailey Nurseries President Terri McEnaney.

January 13, 2015

Bailey Nurseries Acquires Plant Introductions

Bailey Nurseries has acquired Plant Introductions, Inc. (PII), effective January 1, 2015. PII has developed numerous innovative new varieties that have been marketed worldwide, many introduced by Bailey Nurseries.

Read More

January 7, 2015

How Inflation Affects Your Business And Why You Can’t I…

Awareness of the true increase in costs after inflation is a necessary part of good financial management for greenhouse operations.

Read More

December 4, 2014

New Developments In Shipping/Logistics Software

Improved shipping and logistics software from Picas Software and MapMechanics makes it easier for growers to plan loads efficiently and automate day-to-day distribution planning.

Read More
Fritz Dramm

December 2, 2014

Dramm Corporation Welcomes Back Fritz Dramm

Dramm Corp. recently welcomed Fritz Dramm as the new fertilizer production and compliance manager. Dramm previously worked at the company through high school and college, and is back after 20-plus years.

Read More
Sarah Harwood

November 24, 2014

Take Control Of Your Operation’s Succession Planning Pr…

Proper business and estate planning with your intentions clearly expressed can ensure your goals for the future of your business are fulfilled.

Read More

November 24, 2014

Succession Planning For Growers

Succession planning is a sensitive subject, but one that needs to be addressed when deciding on your operation's legacy. Greenhouse Grower caught up with two growers who shared their process and provided tips for a smooth transition.

Read More

November 24, 2014

BrightFarms Pioneers Hydroponic Greenhouses For Urban A…

BrightFarms brings fresh, local produce to underserved areas with hydroponic greenhouses located on neglected urban spaces.

Read More

November 10, 2014

NGB, AFE To Join In #GivingTuesday On December 2

The American Floral Endowment will participate in #GivingTuesday on December 2, a national movement to encourage charitable giving.

Read More

November 8, 2014

Amid Drought, Californians Talk Water

As extreme drought conditions continue, the state looks at how it manages its resources, while growers try to conserve and meet changing consumer needs.

Read More