Growers, retailers and landscapers are reporting positive spring sales this year. Housing seems to be doing better, architecture billings are up and more people are employed today in North America than when the Great Recession began in 2008. We might take this good news for granted and take a breather from all of our hard work toward recovery.
But there is still a lot of churn in our industry — consumer confidence is all over the place, and there’s the water issue (not enough of it in many places). Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it, the old quote reminds us. While there’s plenty of optimism, now is not the time to let our guard down.
Whether we are up or down, long-term thinking is needed, and that’s the attitude of AmericanHort. Readers probably know AmericanHort was founded because the members of the American Nursery & Landscape Association and OFA (The Association of Horticulture Professionals), felt the industry needed a new strategy, one that brings together all those involved with plants, whether it’s production, installing, selling, teaching or marketing. Together, with a unified message and strategy, we can return to profitability.
However, banners, cute words and well-defined mission statements are not going to get us there. Owners and managers need to make a commitment to invest in their businesses to ensure success tomorrow and years from now. By applying the right business lessons, and a little courage and willingness to take risks, we can become profitable again. AmericanHort cannot give you the badge of courage, but we can help with the business lessons.
AmericanHort Supports Growers’ Businesses
One of the strategic paths AmericanHort is taking is to support our members in their efforts to be successful business people and grow prosperous companies in the current and future economic and market conditions. This is a traditional trade association strategic pathway, but it may be the most important, particularly as we continue to come out of the economic recession and prepare for future economic challenges.
We need to consider if there are defining moments in our businesses that can be anticipated and for which specific interventions can be implemented. Is there a baseline level of infrastructure and performance that an AmericanHort member needs in order to survive and thrive?
There are answers to those questions, and at Cultivate’14, July 12 to 15 in Columbus, Ohio, attendees can find them. This year, AmericanHort made a significant investment in the educational content for greenhouse growers, along with the other key business sectors represented. Attendees will see revamped tours, new programs on vegetable growing, opportunities for pest diagnostics, new consumer-friendly varieties, labor management and recruitment, communications programs and more.
We are also offering new mini sessions for quick bites of information in the Grow Zone, located in the greenhouse in the Solutions Marketplace exhibit hall. If you add that to the networking events, the seven-plus acres of exhibit halls (there’s two of them this year!) and the interactive learning opportunities, everyone can leave Columbus at the end of the event and say, “I have solutions for today and tomorrow.”
AmericanHort’s job as your trade association is to affect the opportunities to improve business conditions and operations. We can and will pull together the great ideas and provide the platform for you to access them. Now your job is to participate and, together, we can find success.