Listening To Leaders

A large crowd of growers gathered at this year’s Southeast Greenhouse Conference (SGC) to hear Charlie Hall, a Texas A&M professor and Greenhouse Grower contributor, make a presentation on the state of our industry and the factors impacting it.

Unfortunately, as one of our industry’s information All-Stars was delivering vital economic news to growers, another grower crowd was gathering just a few yards away to feast on appetizers during the conference’s opening night.

The dinner crowd, of course, doesn’t spell the end of our industry. It does, however, reflect priorities that need changing. We’ve all heard about growers who’ve folded, declared bankruptcy or are barely surviving. Perhaps that’s you. So now is the most critical time to tune in to industry leaders who can help steer your operation through the tough times.

On the bright side, many growers are tuned in to industry leaders and they’re actively searching for ways to clear this current economic hurdle. The growers who tuned in to Hall, whose presentation was an SGC highlight, learned about recent increases in consumer confidence, consumer spending and home sales. Hall also says our industry is the answer to declining home value, and I agree a big opportunity is waiting.

“We’ve seen a significant decline in the value of homes, but landscaping and gardening related to it is the only home improvement that generates a greater-than-$1 return for every $1 invested,” Hall says. “If you invest in a new bathroom, you’re going to get 90-some-odd cents back. But landscaping offers returns from $1.06-$1.15 depending on the design, size and diversity of the plant material.”

Still Standing

Statistics like that should boost your confidence. Reports show consumers are becoming more confident the last few months, as well, and even when their confidence was declining near the heart of the recession, consumer spending was on the rise.

Have we turned the corner on the recession? Maybe. Many of you turned the page on spring successfully, and many growers are still standing because they were able to shave costs from their value chain, differentiate themselves and maintain operating lines of credit.

If your operation’s standing on one leg post-spring, ask yourself how you can position yourself to shave costs, differentiate or maintain credit. Better yet, align yourself with people who can help. Recessions, after all, are a normal part of business. They’re cyclical, and another one’s bound to pop up sooner or later.

If you’re interested in taking away more from the Southeast Greenhouse Conference, visit my blog, Kevin’s Greenhouse Angle. You can check the blog for more news that impacts the greenhouse floriculture industry, my take on how it affects you and more.

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