March 27, 2013

Building Numbers Look Positive For Greenhouse Growers

Economic recoveries usually get their biggest kick from a rebound in the most cyclical parts of the economy. Consumer spending on big-ticket items tends to increase as worries about job security subside, hiring increases and income and household wealth rise. Once consumers are back on their feet, homebuilding (and associated landscaping) and business fixed investment typically ramp back up and inventories rise in line with the higher level of economic activity. Spending And Investment Are Increasing We now see the key cyclical drivers of economic activity kicking into a slightly higher gear. Spending for big ticket items appears to have caught a tailwind from the gradual improvement in the job market, the rise in home prices, and the booming stock market. Business fixed investment also appears to be on a sturdier foundation, led by strong private sector demand, a booming energy sector and somewhat-stabilizing global economy. Finally, homebuilding appears to […]

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SAF Members Bring Flower Power To Capitol Hill

February 22, 2013

Immigration Reform To Help Greenhouse Labor Issues

Right now The Society of American Florists is getting ready for Congressional Action Days. We ask our members to fly into Washington, D.C., and travel around the Hill, meeting with their specific members of Congress about the issues we think are most important to the industry right now. It gives our members an opportunity to carry their messages to their members of Congress. This is really important because you can say anything in Washington as a lobbyist, but it has to be backed up by the people out there running businesses. We are grateful for the people who come in and carry that message around the Hill. It is also a great opportunity for business owners to connect with their members of Congress. Lobbying For Immigration Issues One of the issues we will be taking to the Hill this year, as we have for the past ten or more years, […]

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February 19, 2013

Vaughan’s Horticulture, A Division Of McHutchison, Open for Business

Vaughan’s Horticulture, a new division of McHutchison, is officially open for business. Focusing on the commercial greenhouse business, the division carries the full McHutchison selection of new and innovative greenhouse products including geraniums, bulbs, foliage, perennials, plugs, poinsettias, pot crops, spring plants, supplies and more. “The opening of this division enables even more greenhouse industry customers to enjoy the McHutchison tradition of excellence in service and selection,” says Mike Tizio, President of McHutchison. Vaughan’s is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST. For orders or information, please call 855-864 3300, fax 855-864-5790, Vaughans.com. Vaughan’s is a division of McHutchison, an employee-owned 111-year-old organization that focuses on bringing new products to the commercial greenhouse and nursery markets. The company provides online access to geraniums, bulbs, foliage, perennials, plugs, poinsettias, pot crops, spring plants, nursery and supplies. For more information about McHutchison, please visit the web site at McHutchison.com.

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February 12, 2013

Download: 2013 State Of The Industry Report

If the past few years have been especially rough for greenhouse growers, 2012 showed a slight improvement in sales and production. An encouraging number of respondents said their 2012 sales volume had increased from 2011 levels, with nearly 17 percent saying sales had grown more than 10 percent. Close to 25 percent say sales were up less than five percent, and 23.2 percent experienced increases between 5 and 10 percent. Nearly 40 percent of respondents plan to keep production levels the same in 2013, and 30.8 percent plan to grow more plants — with 11.7 percent intending to increase production more than 10 percent. Want to learn more? The whitepaper offers more statistics, insights and essay answers from growers who took the survey. Click here to download the 2013 State of the Industry Report now.

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February 11, 2013

Choose The Right Greenhouse Varieties For 2013

While the greenhouse industry has become more progressive in its marketing efforts, we are still stuck using very traditional approaches that are no longer effective. Let’s look at a couple of levels in the supply chain to see how they market their products. Growers There has been a huge transition in the balance of power regarding variety adoption at the grower level. This is driven by the influence of outdoor grower trials. Many retailers are selecting varieties based on what some say are the most objective trials. Leading examples are Metrolina, VanWingerden International, Welby Gardens, Costa Farms and C. Raker, just to name a few. Retailers don’t care who bred the plant; all they want to know is what works best and if it comes from a reliable source. Some industry observers have suggested the importance of university trials has vastly diminished. Breeder And Producers This group has changed California […]

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February 11, 2013

The State Of The Greenhouse Industry In 2013

The signs are small, but they are real. The housing market is beginning to tick upward in both new housing starts and increasing value. In many areas, the jobless rate is starting to show improvement as well. There are still many challenges, but for an industry that has been finding its way through a long-term recession, the worst may be behind us. There were indications of this in the responses to our 2013 State of the Industry Survey. Many growers are looking ahead at new opportunities, and projected sales, prices and production numbers are higher compared to the expectations in the 2012 survey. We surveyed nearly 300 readers online late in 2012 to find out what challenges they’re facing and what their plans are for 2013. Nearly a third of those who responded were from the Midwest, but we also heard back from readers from all over the U.S. and […]

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February 8, 2013

The State Of Labor In The Greenhouse Industry

Ask any grower for thoughts on the state of labor today and you are bound to get an earful. While some people blame government crackdowns on immigration, others point the finger at lazy, over privileged Americans who would prefer not to get their hands dirty. But, there is one thing everyone agrees on: It isn’t getting any better. Although organizations like the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) and Society of American Florists (SAF) lobby year after year in favor of reforms to make it easier to hire foreign-born workers, the process is a slow one, and growers can’t afford to be shorthanded during peak production times. Some companies have implemented mechanization or automation to fill their employee gaps and lower payroll costs. Technology presents a viable option for those able to achieve a timely return on investment; however, it is easy to overinvest and rack up unnecessary debt. Operations […]

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Carole Barton

February 7, 2013

Prepare Your Greenhouse Operation For Potential Immigration Changes

Immigration is once again in the national news as bipartisan efforts to address the issue are suddenly a priority in Washington. No matter what direction a potential agreement takes, chances are that greenhouse and nursery businesses will be impacted in some fashion. That was certainly the case during the last significant round of immigration legislation at the state level following the 2010 elections. Alabama, for example, passed regulations in 2011 that mandated strict enforcement of immigration standards and required employers to use the eVerify program to ensure the legal status of prospective employees. We spoke with Carole Barton, co-owner of Barton’s Greenhouse and Nursery in Alabaster, Ala., who adapted to the new regulations in late 2011 and 2012. She described how they managed through the changes and offered some advice for other growers who might find themselves in a similar situation. GG: When we met at Greenhouse Grower’s GROW Summit […]

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Richard Jones

February 7, 2013

Make Your Vendor A Partner

I spent a few hours this week reading through the responses to Greenhouse Grower’s 2013 State of the Industry report for a project I’m working on. As always, our survey had a series of in-depth questions specifically for growers. But this year, we also polled your vendors to get a better perspective on where their segments of the market stand. Some of the most interesting responses came when we questioned growers and suppliers about each other. We asked the suppliers, “What would you like growers to do that would improve profitability for both them and your company?” And we asked growers, “Besides lowering prices, what could vendors/suppliers/distributors be doing to improve your profitability?” The responses to both questions were (mostly) calm, well-reasoned and thoughtful, and taken together, reveal some opportunities for both sides to work together better. Suppliers, for example, offered growers sound business advice on product levels, mix and […]

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February 4, 2013

Is New Greenhouse Production Space A Sign Of A Good 2013?

Are you working on improving your structures this year? If so, what are you doing? If not, what would your next project be? And what do these plans mean about the 2013 season? That’s what we asked you in our 2013 State of the Industry survey. There are growers who will be adding production area next year. In our survey, 36.7 percent of respondents say they will add space in 2013. Here’s the full breakdown: Do you plan to add or retrofit a greenhouse structure in 2013? Yes, we plan to add or retrofit a greenhouse in 2013 36.7 percent No, we see no need to add or retrofit in 2013 39.3 percent No, we can’t afford to add or retrofit, even though the need exists 24 percent We also asked growers even if they don’t plan to actually add or retrofit, what are their highest priorities? The answers varied on […]

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January 31, 2013

2013 Could Be The Turnaround Year

The Great Recession began more than five years ago now (December 2007). It also ended more than three and a half years ago (June 2009). Yet some 12 million Americans are still looking for a job, and millions more would say it hasn’t felt like much of a recovery at all, including folks who have seen their incomes stall or have been drowning in mortgage debt for years. Since the start of 2010, economic growth has averaged 2.2 percent, which would be just fine in normal times but is less than stellar considering the starting point was a time of mass unemployment and general economic despair. The nation is poised to approach the fourth anniversary of economic recovery this coming June with an output gap — the difference between what the economy is capable of producing and what it is actually producing — approaching $1 trillion.   It will take […]

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