December 7, 2011

What Is The Grow Initiative?

There was just one ground rule at The Grow Summit: we weren’t allowed to talk about problems. Just ideas for solving problems. For two days in Cleveland last August, Greenhouse Grower gathered growers, industry suppliers and allied representatives for a roundtable meeting we called The Grow Summit. Our goal was to start a process that generates solutions to the issues we all face and re-energizes the greenhouse industry. You know the challenges. The economy. Housing. Fewer gardeners. Our industry isn’t broken, but it’s not growing at the healthy clip it once was, with nothing but blue skies ahead. We can’t change the macro factors affecting our business. We can, however, change the way we react to them. That’s why we assembled a group of innovative thinkers to work through what those reactions should be. The Grow Summit covered a lot of ground in those two days. In the end, the […]

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December 6, 2011

A Young Person’s Perspective On Attracting The Next Growers

I was recently with a group of greenhouse growers, researchers and suppliers when a conversation started about where the grower of the future will come from. The consensus was that fewer growers will come from universities and more will be company educated and trained. Although this trend is disputable, it highlights the point that college horticulture progams are undergoing drastic changes. The best companies will put thought and resources into changing with these programs, and continue to move forward without leaving young people behind. These companies will see the future value of a young grower and be willing to allocate current resources for getting that return. Prioritizing The Future Even in a time when budgets are tight, investing in future growers should be a high priority. After all, young growers will be the ones preserving knowledge and building upon it to grow the quality crops your company sells in 40 […]

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December 6, 2011

Why We Must Sharpen Business Management

What can a guy with 15-plus years in distribution tell a grower about running a greenhouse operation? To be honest, I asked myself the same question when I was invited to Greenhouse Grower’s Grow Summit in August. What do I know about growing plants? Frankly, not a lot. So before I accepted the invitation I had to think about what I could bring to the table. My first thought was the fact that a business is a business. All businesses are trying to do the same things: increase sales, reduce costs and have money left at the end of the year. I thought about how distributors and growers are similar. We are both supplying our end user–for Integrated Horticultural Alliance (IHA) members, the grower; and for the grower, the independent garden centers or the mass merchants. I also thought about the differences in our businesses, and this is where I […]

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November 21, 2011

The Grow Initiative

The Grow SummitNineteen innovative thinkers representing multiple facets of the ornamentals industry gathered in August for the Grow Summit. The goal was to begin creating solutions to re-energize our industry and help put it back on a path to consistent growth and success. The roster for the meeting included: Marc Clark  Rocket Farms  Large blooming potted growerTom Smith  Four Star Greenhouses  Young plant growerDanny Gouge  Willoway Nurseries  Woody ornamentals growerCarole Barton  Barton’s Greenhouse  Smaller grower serving independentsBob Barnitz  Bob’s Market & Greenhouse  Grower-retailerEd Kiley  The Perennial Farm  Perennials and landscape growerChris Buchheit  Everiss  FertilizersDave Watt  Express Seed  BrokersJoe Farinacci  IHA  Hard goods distributionRick Vulgamott  The John Henry Company  Tags and marketingJeff Warschauer  Nexus Corporation  StructuresChuck Snyder  Summit Plastics  PlasticsChuck Buffington  Syngenta Flowers Pro  Live goodsBob Dolibois  ANLA  Trade associationMichael Geary  OFA  Trade associationPeter Moran  SAF  Trade associationJim Faust  Clemson University  ResearchDelilah Onofrey  Formerly, Greenhouse Grower  MediaBob West  Greenhouse Grower  Media […]

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October 3, 2011

Syngenta R&D Facility To Focus On Consumer Success

So much research and development (R&D) focuses on grower success that consumers are often forgotten. Syngenta Flowers, however, is making a commitment to consumers after breaking ground on a 68,000-square-foot R&D facility that’s expected to be ready next fall in Gilroy, Calif. According to Tim Kroenke, the head of lawn and garden for Syngenta’s North American business, the facility will be divided into three parts: one that focuses on Syngenta’s seed-breeding programs, another that focuses on Syngenta’s vegetative material and a third that allows Syngenta to actively change the greenhouse’s environmental conditions to do extensive consumer research on its genetics. Among the consumer-centric areas Syngenta will research is shipping and how to help growers ensure plants are delivered to consumers healthier. “We know retailers experience shrink,” Kroenke says. “So how do we help reduce shrink at retail? Quite honestly, we’re looking at the experience of the consumer and how we […]

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August 10, 2011

Perspective: Gus De Hertogh On University Funding

The work Gus De Hertogh did as a floriculture faculty member and researcher at Michigan State University (MSU) and then North Carolina State University (NCSU) revolutionized forcing bulbs as pot crops and had a global impact. In his retirement, he continues to be one of our industry’s biggest advocates as research coordinator for American Floral Endowment (AFE). With a corpus of about $10 million, in 50 years AFE has put the industry’s money to work by funding $14 million in research and more than $400,000 in scholarships and internships. The need for these funds are becoming greater as public funding disappears. The industry must step up to fill the void. GG: What impacts are state and federal budget cuts having on floriculture programs at land-grant universities? GD: Without the land-grant system, we couldn’t have the industry we have today. Unfortunately, the system was its own worst enemy. It was too […]

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July 29, 2011

BioWorks Supports Purdue Internship Program

BioWorks continues to support the Purdue University summer internship program within the horticulture and landscape architecture department. This summer, BioWorks is sponsoring Josh Gerovac, who is majoring in horticulture production and marketing, with a minor in plant biology at Purdue. This fall marks Gerovac’s senior year. “I enjoy having the freedom within the internship to perform my own research,” Gerovac says. Gerovac is the fourth Purdue summer intern BioWorks has sponsored. The Purdue summer internship program has been active since 2005. Interns involved in the program perform research and experiments and also work in the greenhouse, partaking in activities like scouting for insects. The internship allows students an opportunity to perform scientific research projects on their own. This benefits the students because they learn first-hand the detail required for scientific method and acquire an appreciation for their work. This summer, Gerovac is conducting tests with BioWorks products and has developed […]

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July 25, 2011

Microsoft Funds FFA’s Agricultural Career Network

Microsoft has donated nearly $1.9 million of software, training and support to the National FFA Organization for the creation of a new online network to help students track educational successes, pursue awards and scholarships and obtain careers in ag. The Agricultural Career Network will be an online sites that students can use starting in middle school to track their educational accomplishments, activities and awards. It will also allow students to build resumes and online portfolios, apply for awards and scholarships, prepare for college, pursue internships, connect with potential employers and pursue employment opportunities. The first phase of the site will be available this fall. Ag teachers will also be able to manage FFA member information in the network, which will provide key data for Perkins plans and reports, produce local impact reports for advocacy efforts, compile information about available grant and scholarship applications and create tools that teachers can use […]

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July 14, 2011

Kube-Pak, Pleasant View On Sustainability Paths

Kube-Pak, the New Jersey greenhouse operation that’s highly focused on bedding plants, plugs and propagation and blooming potted plants, recently earned Scientific Certification Systems’ Veriflora certification for sustainability. The certification applies to Kube-Pak’s poinsettias, garden mums, seeded annuals, perennials, and vegetative annuals and perennials. “We are pleased to have worked with Veriflora for the past few months to have received this certification,” says Bill Swanekamp, Kube-Pak president. “Kube-Pak has been sustainably conscious for many decades and felt it was time to demonstrate to others our commitment to sustainable horticulture.” Kube-Pak ranks 89th on Greenhouse Grower’s Top 100 Growers list with 845,000 square feet of greenhouse space. Another large grower, Pleasant View Gardens of Loudon and Pembroke, N.H., recently announced it is pursuing sustainability certification its own. But rather than pursuing Veriflora, Pleasant View is working toward the MPS-ABC label environmental sustainability. “One of our long-range goals at Pleasant View Gardens […]

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July 10, 2011

Looking For A Hort Job?

Think you’ve got a solid resume down that’s going to reel in your first–or next–prospective employer? Well, think again. Michigan State University Professor Bridget Behe shared useful tips for career building in her Sunday morning OFA Short Course Session, “Building Your Career From Your Couch.” In the session, Behe shared several tips. Including: - Rewrite your resume on your birthday each year. Says Behe: “On your birthday, take your resume out and reflect on what major accomplishments you’ve achieved in the last year. Do you like where you are? You may realize you do not.” - Keep the big picture in mind. “Think five years out,” she says. “Where do you see yourself? Also, think about what you would like to accomplish. If, for example, you want to be a grower in Western Michigan, find five people doing that and find out what they did to get where they wanted […]

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May 5, 2011

55 Schools Awarded Peace Garden Grant

The Muhammad Ali Center, Yum! Brands Foundation and the National Gardening Association (NGA) have revealed the winning programs for the 2011 Muhammad Ali Center Peace Garden Grant. Hundreds of applications were received from school programs across the United States and locations around the world. Each demonstrated a commitment to teaching children multicultural respect, nutrition and hunger relief through garden programming. Fifty-five winning programs were selected that exemplified these studies in the garden. Bonnie Plants will supply each program with vegetable and herb plants. “We are pleased and proud to join the cooperative efforts of the Muhammad Ali Center, Yum! Brands and the National Gardening Association and provide vegetable and herb plants for the establishment of Peace Gardens to consciously cultivate valuable life lessons for our youth in cross cultural consideration, respect and nutrition though the joy, spirit and instrument of gardening,” says Stan Cope, president of Bonnie Plants. Winning programs […]

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April 25, 2011

Midwest Groundcovers Celebrates Earth Day

This year marks the second straight year Midwest Groundcovers, a wholesale nursery headquartered in St. Charles, Ill., celebrated Earth Day by partnering with local foundations that support positive environmental initiatives. Midwest’s partnerships include the state’s Adopt-A-Highway program, an Earth Day benefit dinner and silent auction and the grand opening of Hickory Knolls Discovery Center. Adopt-a-Highway Program Midwest’s third year of participation in Illinois’ Adopt-a-Highway program began on April 7, when a group of employee volunteers collected refuse along a designated two-mile section of Route 25. Midwest’s highway beautification efforts will continue throughout the year. For more information about the Adopt-a-Highway program, visit http://www.dot.state.il.us/aah/default.html. YouthBuild Lake County YouthBuild Lake County (YBLC), an agency that trains low-income youth to build homes, is hosting an April 25  Earth Day event that will showcase an energy-efficient home built by trainees enrolled in YBLC’s North Chicago job-training program. Midwest Groundcovers is donating 19 shrubs and […]

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