March 11, 2009
Springing Into Action
Florida grower Rick Brown of Riverview Flower Farm reports good consumer spending in his state despite a delayed start to the season because of weather. Alabama grower Carole Barton of Barton’s Greenhouse & Nursery says garden center traffic in her region has been strong lately, as well. Up north, where we recently visited Corso’s Flower & Garden Center in Sandusky, Ohio, vice president Chad Corso is hoping for similar traffic. “My biggest worry is what’s the economy going to do the next 8 to 12 weeks,” says Chad Corso, vice president of Corso’s Perennials in Sandusky, Ohio. “Are there going to be any major auto dealerships that close that really affect our Midwest market? That’s probably my biggest worry right now.” Corso is also concerned about rising unemployment in the North. His operation, which operates in Erie County, neighbors Ohio’s Huron County. And Huron, he says, has the highest unemployment […]
March 5, 2009
Illegal Immigrant Population Declines
According to the Homeland Security Department, the number of illegal immigrants in the United States fell recently for the first time in at least four years. Homeland Security sources tougher enforcement and rising unemployment for the decrease. The decline still left the country with 11.6 million illegal residents in January 2008, down from a record 11.8 million a year earlier. Jeffrey Passel, a demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center, says economic factors have historically caused surges and drops in illegal immigration. “Enforcement plays some role,” he says, but added that the number of illegal immigrants roughly doubled in the 1990s “in the fact of steadily ramped up enforcement over that period.” Source: USA Today
March 2, 2009
Survey: Double-Digit Increase In Food Gardening For 2009
Findings from a recent National Gardening Association (NGA) survey show food gardening on the rise, as 7 million more U.S. households plan to grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs or berries in 2009. This is a 19 percent increase from 2008 and is nearly double the 10 percent growth in veggie gardening activity from 2007 to 2008. In 2008, gardeners spent a total of $2.5 billion to purchase seeds, plants, fertilizer, tools and other gardening supplies to grow their own food. According to NGA estimates, a well-maintained food garden yields a $500 average return per garden when considering a typical gardener’s investment and the market price of produce. Key highlights from The Impact Of Home And Community Gardening Survey include: – 43 million U.S. households plan to grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries in 2009, up 19 percent from 36 million households in 2008. –21 percent of households […]
February 26, 2009
The State Of South Florida Growers
A recent Miami Herald article reported on how some Florida growers are faring during these challenging economic conditions. Among those featured were Costa Farms, Living Colors Nursery, Suncoast Nursery, and Kerry’s Nursery. Many growers report dips in sales volumes and pricing, leading to staff reductions. Internet sales and cost cutting were cited as two strategies for weathering the storm. Despite overall sluggish sales, there is some cautious optimism in the industry with spring just around the corner. Read the full Miami Herald article here.
February 26, 2009
OFA Names Jim Broderick Interim CEO
Jim Broderick, current OFA Treasurer, has been named Interim Chief Executive Officer by the board of directors. Broderick’s appointment follows the unexpected death of John Holmes on Feb. 12. Broderick is the owner of TFI Inc., a Westerville, Ohio-based company that provides interiorscaping, landscaping, wholesaling and limited grounds and property maintenance. “Jim is well positioned to serve as the Interim CEO,” says OFA President Bobby Barnitz. “He is deeply involved in OFA, understands the strategic vision of the board of directors and is highly respected by our staff. We have a great team in place to ensure the association continues providing valuable programs and services to our stakeholders and management partners during this transition time.” OFA says plans for Short Course, July 11-14 in Columbus, Ohio, are progressing as scheduled, including developing the 130-session educational program, the 1,500-booth trade show and dozens of networking opportunities. A professional search firm with […]
February 26, 2009
V-Day Sales Rise In ’09
According to Synovate, which conducted a nationwide poll for the Society of American Florists (SAF) early last week, Valentine’s Day sales were up in 2009. Nearly 29 percent of Americans bought fresh flowers or plants as Valentine’s Day gifts this year, a significant increase over the 26 percent who made Valentine’s Day purchases last year. Red roses were still the most popular choice among 48 percent of buyers. Thirty-six percent bought mixed flowers, 24 percent bought roses in colors other than red and another 23 percent bought single flowers. The average consumer spent $41.70, according to the polling results. That figure is also up from last year’s ($38.10). For more information, visit www.safnow.org.
February 25, 2009
Home Depot Loses $54 Million
The Home Depot Inc. reported a fiscal fourth-quarter loss of $54 million on Tuesday, due in part to its plan to close its four home improvement brands. The company lost 3 cents per share during the fourth quarter, compared to a profit of $671 million (40 cents per share) during the same period last year. “We expect the home improvement market in 2009 will remain just as challenging as 2008, but we will continue to invest in our associates and stores to set a strong foundation for the long-term health of our company,” chairman and chief executive Frank Blake said. For the year, Home Depot’s profits dropped 49 percent to $2.26 billion ($1.34 per share), down from $4.4 billion ($2.37 per share). Full-year revenue dropped 8 percent to $71.29 billion. Read more here.
February 24, 2009
Opportunity Awaits As Housing Prices Hit Rock Bottom
The bad news: The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index plunged a record 18.2 percent during the fourth quarter of 2008. The good news: Your products can play a role in reversing the downturn. Stuart Hoffman, chief economist for PNC Financial Services Group, says home prices probably won’t increase for another few years. Nothing adds value to the exterior of a home like a standout landscape, though, and a few beautiful plants can be the difference between a pair of homes for sale on the same block. Just think: An investment of a few hundred dollars on spring plants has the potential to translate into a few thousand dollars on the housing market for thousands of frustrated people with homes for sale. Perhaps that’s an angle we, as an industry, should be focusing on this spring. To read the full Business Week article, click here.
February 23, 2009
Ravin’ Traven: Officially Organic & Beaming About Spring
Lloyd Traven, owner of Peace Tree Farm in Kintnersville, Pa., is ranting again and sharing his optimism on spring. His operation, meanwhile, is now USDA certified organic for vegetables and herbs. An Excerpt From His Feb. 23 Rant: Wow, this will definitely be a winter to remember. There were incredible, historic events aplenty. Where do you start? How about Bristol Palin’s boyfriend getting tossed out of his apprenticeship, and Bristol working toward her GED? The Octo-Mom and the Un-Reality Show? At least Madonna and Angelina buy their babies instead of use the last money California had in the state treasury. Are these Wall Street bonus babies? Another baseball player taking steroids–I’m shocked. Shocked I tell you! What’s next, a Bollywood movie wins the Oscar? No way that will ever happen! There are just too many choices for things to go ballistic over, so I’m going to go way out of character. […]
February 20, 2009
Recession Grows Interest In Seeds, Gardening
Vegetable seed sales are up and, according to a recent USA Today article, they’re squeezing flowers for space in U.S. gardens. “As the economy goes down, food gardening goes up,” says Bruce Butterfield, director of the National Gardening Association, which projects the number of homes growing vegetables will jump more than 40 percent this year. “We haven’t seen this kind of spike in 30 years.” According to the article, vegetable seed sales at Park Seed are up 20 percent this year. Ferry-More Seed also reports an increase in vegetable seed sales, but John Hamrick, vice president of sales and marketing, says the company has switched its inventory mix from half veggie seeds, half flower seeds to 60 percent veggies, 40 percent flowers. To read the full USA Today article, click here.
February 19, 2009
New Study Shows Impact Of Floral Industry On The Economy
The U.S. fruit, vegetable and mass-market floral industry contributes more than $550 billion annually to the nation’s economy according to a study from Battelle. The economic impact study of the industry was commissioned by Produce Marketing Association (PMA). “Our industry has substantial economic and employment impact in the United States, contributing significantly to the economies of every state and congressional district in the country,” said PMA President and CEO Bryan Silbermann. The study determined the U.S. fresh produce and mass-market floral industry–everything from local growers to national grocery chains–accounts for more than $275 billion in direct economic output, and a total economic impact of more than $554 billion when its “ripple” effects–including suppliers’ businesses and worker spending–are added. Every dollar of production value ultimately generates $16.75 of total economic value. According to Kathy Means, PMA vice president for government relations and public affairs, the study pegs the industry’s total impact […]
February 10, 2009
The New-Look SNA Green Industry Trade Show
The Southern Nursery Association’s (SNA) Green Industry Trade Show kicks off tomorrow in Atlanta, marking the first time the show takes place in the winter after more than 100 years of summer get-togethers. The show will also take place at a smaller venue, the Cobb Galleria Centre. Attendance had been down in recent years, but the SNA is banking on success with a winter show in part because orders are no longer being placed months in advance like past years. Instead, growers are finalizing orders last minute to prepare for their spring inventory demands. “Buying habits are changing,” says Buddy Martin, owner of Martins Nursery in Semmes, Ala. “Orders are being placed just prior to when inventory is needed and not as far in advance. I believe the winter show is a good move and will reenergize the show and its exhibitors.” In addition to finalizing last-minute orders, attendees at […]