December 16, 2008

Online Only: Complete Industry Pulse Survey Responses

We surveyed readers to create a profile of the typical greenhouse grower in 2009 and to gauge the current state of the market. Here are the complete findings from our 250 respondents. Which of the following best describes your business? Wholesale grower, finished plants    32%    Grower/retailer    32%    Wholesale grower, young plants (plugs & liners) 8% Wholesale grower, finished & young plants    16% Other 12% What percent of the plants you grow was sold through each of the following outlets in 2008? Mass merchandiser (e.g. Wal-Mart,Target)     11.63    Home improvement chains (e.g. The Home Depot, Lowe’s)11.54   Supermarkets         8.92    Independent garden centers    45.83       Own retail operation         57.43   Where is your business located? Northeastern U.S.20.8%   Midwestern U.S.    29.2%   Southeastern U.S. 20.0%   Southwestern U.S. 6.0%   Western U.S.    16.8%   International    7.2%   How long has your greenhouse operation been in business? 5 years or less    14.0%   6 to 10 years    8.6%   11 to 15 […]

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December 16, 2008

State Of The Industry: Building A Collective Voice

We’ve all heard about the need for one unified message the industry could deliver to consumers, and several organizations are already on the right track promoting the benefits of the crops you grow. Here’s a breakdown of a few industry organizations and the specific messages they’ve been delivering lately. America In Bloom Last year, 30 U.S. communities participated in America In Bloom (AIB), the national grassroots community enhancement program that engages communities in a friendly beautification competition each year. Nearly 160 communities have been involved in the program since the organization was founded in 2001, and several cities have made their participation in America In Bloom a regular affair. Many times, in fact, communities enter the competition after a neighboring community has already done so. The benefits, AIB finds, are economical, environmental and in the human lifestyle. Next year’s annual symposium and awards gala will be held in Hershey, Pa. […]

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December 15, 2008

Industry Leader Named As Replacement To Standards Committee

The three open seats on the committee developing a national standard for sustainable agriculture have been filled, and one representative from the floriculture industry is among the recent additions. Theodore Johnson of Freshblooms and its parent company, Delaware Valley Floral Group, was named to the committee. He replaces Tom Leckman of Sierra Flower Trading, who resigned from his post about a month ago. Other industry members include – Jim Barrett of the Environmental Horticulture Department at the University of Florida–Hans Brand of B&H Flowers–Will Healy of Ball Horticultural Co.–Juan Carlos Isaza-Cassolis of Asocolflores–Stan Pohmer of Pohmer Consulting Group–Jacques Wolbert of MPS-ECAS; and–Mark Yelanich of Metrolina Greenhouses For more information on the standards committee and its progress, visit www.leonardoacademy.org.

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December 15, 2008

BenchPress Profile: Kasey Cronquist

Since joining the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) in October 2007, Kasey Cronquist has spearheaded an aggressive public affairs program targeting lawmakers in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C. He led a historic grower-exporter relations tour to Colombia, allowing growers to experience the production dynamics of California’s largest overseas competitor. Be sure to check out Cronquist’s blog. What are a couple of projects or initiatives you’ve tackled for CCFC of which you’re particularly proud? “We organized that trip to Colombia and it was unique in that it hadn’t been done before by the commission. We decided this type of networking among industry people would be very important. We are a competitive industry, but there are also opportunities of cooperation and synergy that can be built. The trip to Colombia was an example of that. “We wound up going down there and learning about their growing techniques, and I think one of […]

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December 9, 2008

Ones To Watch: John Mossel

As part of Greenhouse Grower’s 25th anniversary, we’ve been profiling people we expect to shape the industry for the better over the next 25 years. Now in its 24th week online, our Ones To Watch series continues with John Mossel of Grand Flower Growers in Wayland, Mich. Age–31 His Job – John has been a co-owner of Grand Flower Growers since 2000. He operates the business with his brother, Todd. Teaming Up – Grand Flower Growers does most of its business with Home Depot. Behind the scenes, John helps manage many of Home Depot’s national corporate initiatives for tagging, containers and genetics. Quotable – “Surround yourself with people who are more talented than you.” Bob Sedlatschek, live goods senior merchant for Home Depot, gave that advice to John, who says it’s the best business tip he’s received. Opportunities & Challenges – In the short term, Grand Flower Growers is expanding […]

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December 9, 2008

New Online Forum For Growers, Retailers & Landscapers

We’d like to invite you to join our new online community, Fresh Air Forum, from Greenhouse Grower, Today’s Garden Center and Ornamental Outlook magazines. In our new community, you can create a profile, upload an image and post messages to forums–ask or answer questions or have a chat with another member. We’ve also created groups for growers, retailers and landscapers. Join the groups that apply to you! Right now on Fresh Air Forum, members are discussing topics like poinsettia sales, the recession and how to reach the next generation. Jump into the forum right now, give your two cents and start your own discussions. Find it at www.FreshAirForum.com.

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December 3, 2008

BenchPress: 2033

Life is too serious at times, so let’s have a little fun with a futuristic BenchPress. Our staff and readers came up with some of the headlines and stories you very well may be reading about come 2033. You’ll also find a question-and-answer interview with a grower from the future and a look back from 2033 on this year’s top stories. Enjoy! Labor Dependency Lowest Ever Growers began to reduce their dependence on immigrant labor years ago when the U.S. government decided to fine greenhouse operations $100,000 for each illeg al immigrant it employed. That action forced growers to look elsewhere for labor and kicked off the Automation Renaissance, which culminated this month with the introduction of the Robotic Greenhouse Managers (RGM) at select greenhouse operations across the country. The RGM system essentially eliminates the need for employees to even set foot in the greenhouse. The cost of a single […]

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December 3, 2008

Online Only: Taking A Look Back – Our First Issue Of Greenhouse Grower

Putting together our 25 anniversary issue, we’ve taken a good look at what the future holds for our industry. But it’s also a good time to look back at where we’ve come from. We’ve come a long way. Here’s a chance for you to look back with us. Take a peek at our first issue, the January 1983 issue of Greenhouse Grower, which included features on the costs and conservation of heating resources, the evolution of imports and opportunities for computerizing the greenhouse.

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December 3, 2008

BenchPress Profile: Joe Grower

Joe Grower is your typical greenhouse grower, only he lives and works in the year 2033. We caught up with him recently and asked him about his craft. What crops are you growing in the greenhouse right now? Of course all we do is GMO based–both food crops for home gardens as well as our full line of GMO floriculture novelties. The GMO food crops we all know and love–all high protein, high fiber. The new line of designer carrots–where we match your DNA code to the carrots, has been a huge hit. Full match will include any amino acid deficiencies that the customer may have so we remove any need to add supplemental foods to the diet. The GMO flower novelties are just starting, with our scented petunia line from Chanel–each petunia a perfect match for a Chanel fragrance. We also have high expectations for the new GMO alarm […]

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December 3, 2008

Our Ones To Watch

We celebrated our 25th anniversary over the last few issues by taking a look at people we expect to make a difference in the industry over the next 25 years. They’re all visionaries as inventors, innovators and voices for change. Our grower profile series is now complete, but here’s a glance back at all 25 people profiled over the course of the last five months. Todd Lighthouse Lighthouse Gardens Has a business plan for providing organically grown plants that can be shipped directly to your door. Denise Godfrey Olive Hill Greenhouses Invests her time with industry organizations and speaks her mind to ensure a future for the growing community. John Bonner Eagle Creek Wholesale Bold enough to try new production practices, smart enough to learn from failures and emphasizes sustainability in business. Fran Hopkins Under A Foot Plant Company Built the plants-you-can-walk-on concept that is STEPABLES and educates consumers on […]

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December 3, 2008

Remember When…

Q: Share an example of how you’re producing crops differently now than in 1983. A: We started out in the 1980s growing in recycled cut-off milk cartons (waxed paper) that we collected year-round before moving to plastic pots and packs later in the 80s. Now, we are back to growing in biodegradable pots, but they are made of rice hulls. Q: How has pricing changed? Can you give an example of prices you are getting now for products compared to 1983? A: The business started out as Mom’s hobby, so pricing in 1983 was based on what Mom thought things were worth. Now, my brother and I have increased pricing to what our customers think they’re worth, particularly with the quality we grow. I don’t have exact figures from 1983, but we’re thinking tomato plants in cut-off quart milk cartons (equivalent to a 4.5-inch deep pot) were around $0.50, and […]

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December 3, 2008

Sizing Up Our Industry

  Crop By Crop Census of Agriculture, Census of Horticultural Specialties USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Services   Capturing the industry’s size and scope has always been an elusive task. The only national source is USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and the agency isn’t consistent in how it collects the information. For instance, the U.S. Floriculture Crops Summary used to be for 39 states and is now only for 16, which makes it hard to compare petunias to petunias from one year to the next. USDA does conduct a Census of Agriculture every five years and we’re still waiting on the 2007 results, which are due out in February at the earliest–not in time for this issue. The best part about this study is it does encompass all 50 states and is very thorough. But unfortunately, it is not handled consistently each time. For instance, in 2002 dollar sales of floriculture […]

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