Optimism And Action Are The Takeaways From Greenhouse Grower’s State Of The Industry

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The responses to Greenhouse Grower’s annual State Of The Industry survey are always an interesting read. The survey has a mix of questions that help us dig in and get a feel for your business plans for the coming year, as well as a clearer view of your biggest concerns and the opportunities you hope to realize in the new year.

The result is an interesting mix of optimism and frustration.

If you review different sections of the survey individually, you might get the wrong impression of what’s happening out there. Read the questions related to grower concerns and you’re liable to think the end is near — or already here. The stress and strain of the last few years is clearly showing in some of this year’s individual responses about the daily pressures on you and your business. And that’s completely understandable. Take a look at the ranking of issues our grower respondents said they are most concerned about in 2014. They’re all very real issues, none of which have easy answers.

At the same time, it’s hard not to be more than a little optimistic when seeing the collective numbers showing how growers fared on the whole in 2013, and how you plan to respond in 2014. You’ll find more detail and analysis on the numbers in our State Of The Industry Report, but in a nutshell:

• Sales were up for the majority of growers in 2013, and

• Even more growers say they are confident enough about the prospects of 2014 to increase production this spring.

No one wants to see a glut of new plants choking the market come April and May, obviously, but I think the numbers are more of an indication that growers sense a continued rebound from the last few years of recession.

And beyond the numbers, the responses this year indicate a desire to take these challenges head on and a willingness to try new approaches we may not have seen before. You’ll find many of these comments and ideas throughout this issue and in our downloadable State Of The Industry whitepaper at GreenhouseGrower.com/tag/jan2014.

In the end, in that mix of concern and excitement, there’s definite reason for optimism for the upcoming season and beyond. Good luck this spring and here’s to a great 2014.

Richard Jones is the group editor for Greenhouse Grower and Today's Garden Center magazines.
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