June 14, 2011

Perspective: John Bagnasco, GardenLife

You’d be hard pressed to find someone more in tune with the gardening public and the supply side of our industry than San Diego radio personality and writer John Bagnasco of GardenLife. The program is Southern California’s leading source for gardening advice, sharing scientific breakthroughs and new gardening ideas. He also was an editor and radio personality for Garden Compass. Bagnasco holds a degree in horticultural marketing from Michigan State University. He then went on to be a buyer for some of the nation’s leading garden center chains–Frank’s Nursery and Crafts, the Nurseryland division of Sunbelt Nursery Group and Armstrong Garden Centers. He also knows the mega grower side of things as marketing director for Altman Plants in Vista, Calif. His latest project has been working with Log House Plants and Plug Connection to market and produce the SuperNaturals line of grafted vegetables. GG: What are the hot trends in […]

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June 14, 2011

OFA Short Course Trade Show Sells Out

The OFA Short Course trade show is sold out and a waiting list has been established. More than 550 companies will occupy 1,550 exhibit spaces in the seven-acre trade show. Industry suppliers and attendees from more than 20 countries will participate in the 2011 OFA Short Course, July 912, at the Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. For additional information, contact OFA at 2130 Stella Court, Columbus, Ohio. Learn more onlinea at www.ofa.org.

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June 3, 2011

New Jersey’s Value Of Floriculture Crops Increases

New Jersey now ranks eighth in the nation in expanded wholesale value of floriculture crops, outpacing Pennsylvania and Maryland. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistic Service reports the value of New Jersey’s floriculture crops is up 7 percent from the 2009 mark. “By purchasing the plants grown in the Garden State, consumers are ensured the plants are acclimated to the climate to grow and thrive,” says Douglas H. Fisher, New Jersey’s Secretary of Agriculture. “The purchase also helps support New Jersey’s farmers.” Bedding and garden plants sales were $110.5 million in 2010, an increase of 3 percent from the previous earlier. New Jersey also had $12.4 million in cut flower sales, up from $11.4 million in 2009. “Benefits received from buying produce locally consists of higher quality flowers, less fuel spent on transport and supporting the local economy,” says Dominick Mondi, executive director of the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association. Visit the Jersey Grown website for promoted nursery […]

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May 24, 2011

Home Depot Is Spring King Among Hardware Chains

Despite a miniscule decline in sales, Home Depot’s first-quarter profit rose 12 percent because of its ability to reduce costs. Its rival Lowe’s reports an even bigger drop in first-quarter sales. Lowe’s reports net earnings of $461 million for the quarter, a 5.7 percent decrease from the same period a year ago. Sales for the quarter decreased 1.6 percent to $12.2 billion from $12.4 billion in the first quarter of 2010. “We delivered earnings per share within our guidance for the quarter, despite lower than expected sales,” says Robert A. Niblock, Lowe’s chairman and CEO. “During the quarter, we faced ongoing economic pressures, unfavorable weather conditions and tough comparisons to last year’s government stimulus programs. While we are focused on competing effectively in the current environment, we are also working diligently on our commitment to deliver better customer experiences. We are building momentum in 2011 behind our transformation from a […]

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May 6, 2011

Perspective: Matt Stuppy, President, National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association

Matt Stuppy may be young but he brings a long-term perspective to the greenhouse industry as fifth-generation owner and president of Stuppy Greenhouse Manufacturing in North Kansas City, Mo. He’s also the current president of the National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association (NGMA), which brings the structures, equipment and environmental controls segments together. As an agricultural engineer, he has been actively involved in NGMA’s codes and standards committee, which is currently addressing new codes related to energy consumption. GG: How is the business you are running today different than the one your father or grandfather led? MS: The business has been changing ever since it was started in 1873. That’s probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned from our family history. Fortunately, we have had the foresight to change with the industry. We’ve gone from a rose grower to a wholesale florist to a greenhouse design and construction company. The fact that we’ve […]

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May 3, 2011

Standards Committee Hosts Annual Meeting

Leonardo Academy reports that significant progress was made during its fourth national face-to-face meeting of the multi-stakeholder Sustainable Agriculture Standards Committee. Standards Committee members and observers convened at Gap Corporate headquarters in San Francisco, Calif., and those participating remotely were able to join the meeting online. Standards Committee members discussed and then passed motions to approve aligning the principle statements, including criteria, indicators and metrics developed by the economic, environmental and social criteria development subcommittees. These subcommittees play a key role in the standard development process because they are responsible for developing the specific proposed sustainability requirements for their subject areas. These requirements are then reviewed and approved by the Standards Committee. The committee approved the proposal for an agricultural production sustainability plan to support producers in developing their implementation strategies to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard. They passed motions on proposals for the future tiers and […]

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April 15, 2011

Seeley Schedule Released With Speaker Slate

The schedule and slate of speakers has been released for Cornell University’s 26th annual Seeley Conference. Full program information and online registration are available at: http://www.hort.cornell.edu/seeleyconference/ This year’s Seeley conference will be held beginning Sunday June 26 with evening registration. The conference will end before noon on Wednesday, June 29. The theme is “Floriculture’s Biggest Challenge:  Creating MindShare Opportunities.” The conference will focus on ways the floriculture industry can increase consumer recognition. The conference will begin by peering into the mind of today’s consumer, including their attitudes and buying behavior and what this means for our industry. It will continue with a thought-provoking summary of the power that plants have on our lives. Increasingly busy, many people fail to notice the plants that surround them. Katy Moss Warner will address plant blindness and ways to combat it.  Day 2 of the conference will focus on how members of our industry are […]

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March 30, 2011

May We Be Excused?

You know there’s something wrong when four highly respected leaders get fed up and walk away from an effort to shape national standards for sustainable agriculture after investing nearly three years in the process. In February, Will Healy from Ball Horticultural Company, Mark Yelanich from Metrolina Greenhouses, Jim Barrett from the University of Florida and Doug Cole of D.S. Cole Growers resigned from participating in the National Agricultural Sustainability Standards Committee and subcommittees. Leonardo Academy is facilitating the process to develop a national standard for agriculture. The end game is for the standard to be approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and serve as the benchmark to compare all sustainable certifications in agriculture. Leonardo Academy is an ANSI-accredited standards development organization. Although these leaders believe in the need to create a national standard and are involved in sustainable certification programs, they resigned because they’ve lost confidence in Leonardo […]

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March 21, 2011

SAF Members Bring Flower Power To Capitol Hill

Energy was high and the mood upbeat as dozens of SAF members talked up the power of the floral industry across Capitol Hill on March 15, during SAF’s Congressional Action Days (CAD). Attendees represented every type and size of floral business — retail florists, independent designers, wholesalers, suppliers, importers and growers.    Traveling together as state or regional teams (and occasionally as a confident solo), they worked their way through more than a quarter of congressional offices talking about their businesses and sharing the industry’s concerns.   Dave Self, owner of Wyld West Annuals in Loxahatchee, Fla., says the only thing that could lure him away from the Sunshine State’s balmy weather was “the opportunity to get my representatives thinking about what matters to my business.” Of utmost importance to him: repealing 1099 regulations and immigration reform.    SAF President Leo Roozen of Washington Bulb Company in Mount Vernon, Wash., […]

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March 17, 2011

Perspective: Paul Fisher, Associate Professor/Extension Specialist

As more growers recapture and reuse irrigation water, they are going to have to become water treatment experts. For three years, Paul Fisher from the University of Florida has been filling this educational void through the Water Education Alliance for Horticulture. In addition to looking to other industries for solutions, this summer he will be attending water treatment classes in Delft, Holland, to learn how growers can set up small-scale water treatment options. GG: How did the idea for the Water Education Alliance originate? PF: The idea came from growers in the Young Plant Research Center group. We prioritize projects each year and a top one was developing educational resources for the water treatment of pathogens. Many growers are recirculating irrigation water, using flood floors and benches. Young plants are susceptible to waterborne diseases and growers’ reputations are on the line to deliver healthy plugs and liners. They also were […]

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March 10, 2011

SNA Board Appoints Interim Executive VP

Karen Summers has been appointed interim executive vice president of the Southern Nursery Association (SNA), filling the position made vacant by the departure of Steve Newton last year. The appointment comes after the SNA board of directors set new directives to rebuild and strengthen the association to achieve financial health and once again become an integral part of the horticulture industry in the Southeast. Over the past few years, the association’s financial stability has been shaken by the economic downturn, a decline in membership and no longer depending on a trade show as the major source of income. The newly elected board of directors plans to focus on member services that will promote the economic welfare of members, as well as the association. The goal of the current board is to not only survive but thrive. Summers will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the association, as well as […]

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March 9, 2011

Village Nurseries Doubles Annual Sales In Texas

Village Nurseries, a specialty grower for landscape professionals, has announced that sales are rebounding, especially in Texas where 2010 sales doubled over 2009 even as other wholesale nurseries have gone out of business or reduced operations in the wake of the recent recession. Village Nurseries penetrated the Texas market seven years ago as part of its expansion outside California. But unlike California, where the company sells directly to landscape professionals, Texas uses a different model in which professionals buy from independent rewholesalers. Village Nurseries works exclusively with rewholesalers in Texas rather than selling directly to the landscape professionals. “Since I live in Texas I know the client base, and I’ve developed long relationships with the rewholesaler and the independent garden centers,” explains Michael A. Mireles, territory manager for Village Nurseries. “We have a diverse product line of high quality shrubs and trees, so rewholesalers can get all their needs met […]

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