October 22, 2008

Reaction To Syngenta’s Purchase Positive

Syngenta officially acquired Goldsmith Seeds late Monday, adding yet another reputable brand under the company umbrella that continues to expand. Leaders of both companies assure little will change in how each operates and, if anything, Syngenta’s acquisition should take Goldsmith to the next level. “This acquisition is a perfect strategic fit with Syngenta Flowers and it significantly increases our proprietary flower seed portfolio,” says Robert Berendes, head of business development at Syngenta. “The Goldsmith family has built up a world-class breeding company with an outstanding reputation that is known for its consistent quality. This acquisition further strengthens our leadership position in the global flowers industry.” Under the agreement, in which Syngenta paid $74 million on a cash and debt-free basis to acquire Goldsmith, names and faces are not expected to change. Joel Goldsmith will continue to act as president of Goldsmith Seeds, and the company will carry the same name […]

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October 22, 2008

View: Consolidation Can Be A Plus

Charlie Hall, professor and chairholder of the Ellison Chair in International Floriculture at Texas A&M University, says the consolidation that’s taken place in the industry to this point has been a positive thing. And Syngenta’s acquisition of Goldsmith is indeed a plus. “If you try to measure the efficency within an industry, I would contend the industry is much more efficient now that there are some very streamlined distribution systems,” Hall says. “I don’t see, in the long run, that this is a bad thing, until you get to a monopoly situation. There’s still enough competition in the industry to keep folks playing straight. They don’t mess with the price too much.” Goldsmith’s germplasm is a valuable asset for Syngenta, Hall says, and the acquisition does open up Syngenta’s portfolio. These types of mergers and acquisitions will continue in the future, but most growers won’t see too much difference in […]

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October 21, 2008

Going For Upgrades

      LVG, owned by the Van Geest family, is the flagship grower for Plantimex and Ivo van Geest is managing director of Plantimex, the distribution arm. He and his father and two brothers run six hectares of greenhouse and all live on site. “The houses are just far enough apart to not fight,” Ivo says. The business is just 12 years old. The greenhouse facilities are modern and have attractive brick foundations that match the buildings throughout. It looks like a nicely landscaped industrial park. Specialty crops include orchids and Poulsen varieties of potted roses. While larger roses go to nurseries, smaller ones go to retail chains. One quarter of Plantimex’s business is Woolworth, which is different in South Africa than it was in the States. It is considered a higher end department store versus a discount store. Stores near Johannesburg receive deliveries everyday, Cape Town, every two […]

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October 21, 2008

Hortica Appoints New Board Member

Cees Boonman, president of Ball Seed and the company’s wholesale distribution divisions in Latin America, was named to the board of directors at Hortica Insurance & Employee Benefits. Boonman has worked at Ball since 1994, and he also serves on its board of directors. He previously held senior management positions with firms in the vegetable seed industry in Europe and the United States.

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October 21, 2008

Computing Success

Streamlined Flexibility Red Wing Software: The CenterPoint Accounting for Agriculture Version 4 gives users more flexibility, helping streamline and organize reporting processes. Transactions can be entered, sorted and searched more quickly and easily. Also, users can customize columns and apply filters for essential analysis. www.redwingsoftware.com       Customer Cooperation SBI Nursery Software: Production Management Package, a new module from SBI, automates purchasing of materials for production. It also lets the user manage production with work orders being sent out to propagate, transplant and execute important tasks. This software has been designed by growers, the people who put it to work every day. www.sbinursery.com       Affordable Performance Arc Growing Software: Geared toward small to mid-sized growing operations, Arc Growing Software’s single-user package for production starts at under $10,000. From production scheduling to space planning to automatic royalties, this software can adapt to a wide variety of growers and […]

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October 21, 2008

Seamless Software

“There’s an idea out in the industry that software’s not essential and I think that’s really hurting the industry’s move forward,” says Sharon Nuss, vice president of Starcom Computer Corp. “Because it is an essential core piece to running your business.” According to Nuss, you have to start integrating the various departments of your business into a “seamless operational flow.” Without production software, the individuals involved may have their own spreadsheet, and “then everyone has control of their own little universe.” John Stallmer, president of Innovative Software Solutions adds that above all else, production software creates a more efficient growing operation. It helps answer the questions, “How do we get as many hands out of the pot as we can? How do we make it simpler, faster, with less labor?” says Stallmer. So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to close out of those Excel spreadsheets and listen up. Conversion […]

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October 20, 2008

Our Ones To Watch

Pamela Youngsman Skagit Gardens Age – 39 Her Job–As sales manager, Pamela is responsible for overseeing sales and customer service, inventory flow and customer satisfaction for Skagit Gardens. Try Something New–Growing up in the horticulture business gave Pamela valuable experience in accounting, production and sales. She left the industry for seven years, spent four of them working as an auditor in Los Angeles and returned to Skagit Gardens 12 years ago. Her experience outside the industry gave her an appreciation for the sincerity and values of the people and companies within the industry. Getting Involved–OFA is an important organization for Skagit Gardens. Pamela serves on the OFA board of directors and the OFA Exhibitor Advisory Committee. Twenty-Five Years From Now – Growers will be more niche-oriented. They’ll have to take greater care of their customers and be quick to react to opportunities. Human product handling will be supplemented even more […]

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October 17, 2008

Count Your Blessings

As we approach the end of the year that marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Greenhouse Grower magazine, it is time to stop and reflect on what has happened in the last 25 years and to be thankful for all of those people who have made it possible. I have a friend who sends cards for Thanksgiving rather than Christmas. She thanks those who have helped her during the past year and indicates how grateful she is to have them as friends. She considers each of her friends a blessing, and she makes it known to them how special they are. While I don’t send cards to everyone, I do count my friends as blessings. I spent this month thinking about all the people who have helped build Greenhouse Grower magazine. I believe that I have had 10 editors who have helped turn my scribbles into meaningful articles. […]

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October 15, 2008

Ones To Watch: John Bonner

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 16th week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with John Bonner of Eagle Creek Wholesale, who was featured in our October issue. Age–30 His Job–John is general manager of Eagle Creek Wholesale in Mantua, Ohio. After he graduated from Capital University, where he majored in economics and finance, John entered another family business with his father: realty management. Six years ago, though, his family began constructing its retail greenhouse, and now John manages a separate growing location. All In The Family–John’s mother’s grandfather founded BFG Supply Company, and John’s father founded Dillen Products. His family, obviously, has enough history in the industry, so it was easy for John to transition into it when the time came several years ago. “The family […]

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October 6, 2008

Ones To Watch: Stephen Barlow

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 15th week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with Stephen Barlow of Barlow Flower Farm, who was featured in our September issue. Age–30 His Job–Stephen is part of the second generation at grower-retailer Barlow Flower Farm in Sea Girt, N.J. He is currently general manager at Barlow’s, which encompasses 6 acres, after graduating with a bachelor’s in horticulture from Michigan State University and a master’s from Monmouth University. Think Big–Stephen envisions the development of a growing location where Barlow Flower Farm can become more self-sustained, and he would like to help expand the retail portion of the business. “We are on the brink of some really exciting programs and opportunities, including display gardens, children gardens and other programs,” he says. Quotable–”It […]

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September 30, 2008

Wal-Mart Simmering Out Plastic Bag Use

Wal-Mart plans to cut its worldwide plastic shopping bag waste by an average of 33 percent per store by 2013, an effort the world’s biggest retailer said could eliminate more than 135 million pounds of plastic waste. To meet that goal, Wal-Mart will give out fewer bags and encourage shoppers to use reusable ones. The announcement, published in a Reuters story, is part of Wal-Mart’s goal of one day creating zero waste. It also comes amid a global push to curb the use of plastic bags, which environmentalists say can take up to 1,000 years to disintegrate and pose threats to marine life, birds and other animals. Earlier this year, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to outlaw non-biodegradable plastic bags from large supermarkets, and the state of California has enacted a law that requires large stores to take back plastic bags and encourage their reuse. Wal-Mart said its […]

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September 29, 2008

Hortica Names New Board Chair

Hortica Insurance & Employee Benefits recently announced former chairman of the board Jim Leider will reassume his role of chairman until the company’s February 2009 policyholders meeting. Leider replaces Todd Bachman, who was tragically killed at the Olympic Games in Beijing this summer. Leider served as chairman of the board from October 1997 to February 2008. He is also chairman & CEO of Leider Horticultural Companies based in the Chicago area. His company operates a commercial greenhouse operation and seasonal retail garden centers in Buffalo Grove, Ill., a nursery and farm in Knox County, Ill., and a foliage plant nursery in Boynton Beach, Fla. In addition to serving Hortica, Leider has also served as past chairman for the Society of American Florists (SAF) and the American Floral Endowment (AFE). For more information on Hortica, click here. 

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