Part 2: State Of The Industry Series

Percentages Of State Of The Industry Survey Respondents Growing Produce

In recent years, some growers have been growing produce in between their ornamental crops. The produce, which may include strawberries, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, raspberries and leafy greens, is harvested a sold through a variety of local outlets. The local-food movement, which stems from the increased desire for sustainability and the increased interest in cooking with fresh food, is allowing growers to generate a profit from vegetable and fruit crops and reduces overhead costs for their operations.

Nearly half of the 185 growers who responded to the question were already growing produce (22.7 percent) or had plans to do so within the next few years (25.4 percent). Small-sized growers (less than 100,000 square feet) have been the quickest to jump on this trend, with nearly 28 percent already growing produce in their greenhouses. However, nearly 40 percent of medium-sized growers and 29 percent of large growers (400,000-plus square feet) are planning to grow fruits and vegetables in the next few years.

Most Growers Use Biocontrols At Least Some Of The Time

In the State of the Industry Survey, we also asked growers about their use of biocontrols. The vast majority (45 percent) of respondents said they use biocontrols sometimes, 16.4 percent use them frequently and 17.5 percent make using biocontrols a priority and use them as often as they can. Twenty-one percent said they never use biological controls.

Of those who do not use biopesticides in their greenhouses, the reason given was almost equally split between not knowing enough about them (40 percent), and the belief that biocontrols are not as effective as traditional chemical products (41 percent).

Taking a closer look, 58 percent of large growers who do not use biocontrols cited efficacy as a reason, while 43 percent of medium-sized and 42 percent of small-sized growers said a lack of information was the main reason. A significant percentage (32 percent) of small growers said cost was the main factor.

Mergers And Aquisitions

Every month or so it seems that we hear of another greenhouse industry business being sold or merged with another. Depending on your vantage point, you may think this trend is a positive one, allowing for greater economies of scale and one-stop shopping. Or, it may be an unwelcome development ― a sign of decline in quality and service. Either way, when we asked the question it elicited strong opinions from both sides. Of 156 survey respondents who weighed in on this question, 47 percent had a negative opinion of mergers and acquisitions in the floriculture industry, 29 percent thought the trend was not only a sign of a maturing industry, but was beneficial as well, and 22 percent were neutral.

Growers Sound Off On The Mergers And Acquisitions Trend

Personally, I think it is sad for any family-owned company to be purchased or merged, but I believe that it is good for the industry that these companies are merged or purchased rather than closed. —  Belynda Rinck, Ag 3, Inc.

I feel like the family-owned businesses are being taken down due to the economy. It is a hard business we are in, and the next generation of families in the family owned greenhouses are not interested in working as hard as previous generations.The cost of automating these systems are so astronomical that the family-owned greenhouses find it impossible to compete in today’s market. — Tammy Maxey, Tammy’s Flower Garden

The larger companies will have more buying power, bigger marketing budgets and the ability to be more efficient, allowing them to compete with big box stores and increase consumer spending as well. — Scott Burdeshaw, Graf Growers

If you have a passion for your plants and grow better quality, you will have a niche. You will fill the void of the big boys. The more the big boys screw up, the more my business grows. Keep a great attitude and build a great relationship with your customers. — Barry Ritter, Ritter Horticultural

Mergers are inevitable in tough times [and are] probably necessary for the industry to survive effectively. — Fred Dabney, Quansett Nurseries

Competition is essential for both professionals and consumers. It drives innovation, keeps pricing fair and encourages diversity. Lack of competition leads to stagnation, higher prices and lack of selection. — Erik Jacobsen, Parkway Gardens, Ltd.

We see this throughout the country, and it’s inevitable that it would happen in our industry as well. I anticipate more start-up businesses in the next generation.
— Willis Bruce, Bruce’s Greenhouses, Inc.

In order for many of these businesses to continue to grow, they need partners. Unfortunately, some great distributors and growers have fallen on hard times. In today’s economy, it is often less expensive to merge operations together in order to become more competitive and profitable. I don’t think it is a matter of liking it or not. Going forward I believe we might be surprised at who we will see become the next merger/acquisition. — David Holley, Moss Greenhouses

That’s capitalism – we shouldn’t have a problem with it. It can be disconcerting to see long-time, family-owned businesses swallowed up, but if we regulated against it, we would see less innovation, more stagnation in business and generally more apathy toward success. Ultimately, it’s a positive. — David Vos, Vander Giessen
Nursery, Inc.

It’s positive. They do the advertising and promotion for all. We’re all selling pretty much the same thing. — Jim Kwilecki, J & L Floral

I don’t necessarily feel positively about corporations acquiring small businesses, but I do think the industry was experiencing a glut of product. I hope we can take the last several years as a shake-up to encourage us to improve existing processes and be innovators in developing new ones. — Jane Stanley, Saunders Bros.

Consolidation of un-rooted cutting suppliers has been a huge plus. Hardgoods, no.
— Marian Nolt, M&M Greenhouse

We have merged with others [and have] more buying power to reduce costs. [We are] consignment buying on seed, soil, other supplies. — Nolan Jeske, Color Spot, Troup location

Have any of the mergers and acquisitions impacted your business?

Yes, the merger of Wetsel into BFG Supply Company. Customer service has remained decent. Terms and six-month credit have been easier to get with BFG than with Wetsel. Shipping rates for drop-shipped hardgoods have gone up 50 percent. — Paul Hutcheson, Windmill Heights Garden Center.

Yes. A local acquisition generated inventory unbalances that were sold at extremely low prices, hurting our margins and volume. — Ray Rueda, Nature’s Dream Nursery, LLC.

Yes. We used to deal with a couple of these bigger companies many years ago. Their customer service was sorely lacking so we looked for other vendors. We found a couple of great local/regional suppliers that loved to do business with small companies like ours. Now the big boys have bought out the great, local/regional vendors and we are looking for someone other than them to do business with. You can’t buy great service if you don’t know what it is. — Kevin Wilson, Shademakers Nursery & Landscape, Inc.

 

Leave a Reply

More From State of the Industry...
Joe Bischoff

July 26, 2016

SAF Partners With Cornerstone Government Affairs To Advance Industry’s Policy Priorities In Washington

A new partnership between the Society of American Florists (SAF) and Cornerstone Government Affairs ensures that SAF will continue its highly effective work advocating for issues that affect the floriculture industry. “SAF and Cornerstone together provide experienced voices on Capitol Hill to protect our growers’ interests,” says SAF CEO Peter Moran. “We’ll continue to move major policy priorities forward on behalf of small business and agriculture.” Cornerstone is a public affairs firm specializing in government relations, strategic consulting, and advocacy. Its team of more than 50 senior professionals includes former senior professional staff from both authorization and appropriations committees and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as veterans of the horticulture industry. Agricultural and horticultural issues of primary concern to SAF members include access to labor, immigration, crop protection, international trade and other matters related to the day-to-day operations of growers. Before she retired this year, SAF lobbyist Lin […]

Read More

July 26, 2016

AFE Releases New Videos Highlighting Industry Successes

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) recently released five new videos, created to highlight floriculture successes through industry collaboration, support, and participation. “Each video shares real stories from industry members on career development through scholarships and internships, and true examples of research solutions that have shaped how the industry operates today,” says Laura Shinall, President of Syndicate Sales, Inc., and AFE Public Relations and Development Chair. “We’re excited to be able to share some great success stories in an effort to increase industry participation.” The introductory video “Heard of the American Floral Endowment?” helps educate those who aren’t currently aware of AFE’s programs, while other segmented videos (retail, wholesale, grower) share how Endowment programs complement each group and why it’s so important that everyone in the industry participates: Retail Florists Share Why They Turn to AFE New Resources for Floral Wholesalers and Suppliers AFE Helping Growers Profit Ready for a Career in Floriculture or Horticulture? […]

Read More

July 19, 2016

Do You Grow Young Plants? Only 4 Days Left To Take Our 2016 Young Plant Survey!

If your operation produces plugs or liners for wholesale growers, please take a few minutes to participate in Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Young Plant Grower Survey. We know you are very busy and we value your time and input. This survey should only take a few minutes. Greenhouse Grower’s Young Plant Grower Survey has played a key role in building our Top 20 Young Plant Growers list over the years. The information helps us zero in on trends taking shape and the challenges you’re facing as young plant growers. If you have any questions about this survey or you are not the right contact for this at your operation, please email me at [email protected], or please forward the survey link to the appropriate person. We would like to wrap up this survey by July 25, so please take it soon! Thank you in advance for your participation. We value your opinion! » […]

Read More
Latest Stories
Joe Bischoff

July 26, 2016

SAF Partners With Cornerstone Government Affairs To Adv…

A new partnership between the Society of American Florists (SAF) and Cornerstone Government Affairs ensures that SAF will continue its highly effective work advocating for issues that affect the floriculture industry. “SAF and Cornerstone together provide experienced voices on Capitol Hill to protect our growers’ interests,” says SAF CEO Peter Moran. “We’ll continue to move major policy priorities forward on behalf of small business and agriculture.” Cornerstone is a public affairs firm specializing in government relations, strategic consulting, and advocacy. Its team of more than 50 senior professionals includes former senior professional staff from both authorization and appropriations committees and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as veterans of the horticulture industry. Agricultural and horticultural issues of primary concern to SAF members include access to labor, immigration, crop protection, international trade and other matters related to the day-to-day operations of growers. Before she retired this year, SAF lobbyist Lin […]

Read More

July 26, 2016

AFE Releases New Videos Highlighting Industry Successes

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) recently released five new videos, created to highlight floriculture successes through industry collaboration, support, and participation. “Each video shares real stories from industry members on career development through scholarships and internships, and true examples of research solutions that have shaped how the industry operates today,” says Laura Shinall, President of Syndicate Sales, Inc., and AFE Public Relations and Development Chair. “We’re excited to be able to share some great success stories in an effort to increase industry participation.” The introductory video “Heard of the American Floral Endowment?” helps educate those who aren’t currently aware of AFE’s programs, while other segmented videos (retail, wholesale, grower) share how Endowment programs complement each group and why it’s so important that everyone in the industry participates: Retail Florists Share Why They Turn to AFE New Resources for Floral Wholesalers and Suppliers AFE Helping Growers Profit Ready for a Career in Floriculture or Horticulture? […]

Read More

July 19, 2016

Do You Grow Young Plants? Only 4 Days Left To Take Our …

If your operation produces plugs or liners for wholesale growers, please take a few minutes to participate in Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Young Plant Grower Survey. We know you are very busy and we value your time and input. This survey should only take a few minutes. Greenhouse Grower’s Young Plant Grower Survey has played a key role in building our Top 20 Young Plant Growers list over the years. The information helps us zero in on trends taking shape and the challenges you’re facing as young plant growers. If you have any questions about this survey or you are not the right contact for this at your operation, please email me at [email protected], or please forward the survey link to the appropriate person. We would like to wrap up this survey by July 25, so please take it soon! Thank you in advance for your participation. We value your opinion! » […]

Read More
State of the industry 2016

February 23, 2016

Download Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 State Of The Industry…

A year of growth in 2015 also had its share of challenges, and as a result, growers and suppliers were a bit more guarded going into 2016. After a few years of extreme weather and drought, a massive ongoing labor shortage, a shaky economy, and increased government regulation, Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 State Of The Industry Survey shows growers and retailers are moving forward with cautious optimism. Despite their many concerns, growers are ready to tackle another spring season in 2016, and many have reported that investments they have made within the past year are helping to drive their operations into the future. Further, rising consumer confidence indicates good things for 2016, growers said. Greenhouse Grower‘s 2016 State Of The Industry Whitepaper includes all the results of the survey, including comparisons of 2015 sales to past years, details on how 2016 production volume and prices will compare to 2015, crops that […]

Read More

February 18, 2016

Poinsettia Survey Shows Strong Sales For Greenhouse Gro…

The year 2015 might have been one that many were glad to see in the rear view mirror, but for poinsettia growers, it was a good sales year — perhaps the strongest in quite a while. Compared to 2014, which was also widely deemed a success among growers for its seasonal cold at just the right time, good weather for shipping, and a good holiday spirit, the 2015 season was solid for a number of reasons. The weather, a rebounding economy, and increased demand all contributed to what growers said was a “very strong” sales season. “It was a strong year beginning to end due to great weather and quality product as the market demanded,” said Dan Chaney of Ivy Acres, in Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 Poinsettia Survey.     “Sales were strong. Demand was better than the previous two years,” said Larry Windham of Windham Greenhouses Inc. “Very good. The […]

Read More
Pot Mum Combos (Syngenta Flowers)

February 8, 2016

Syngenta Has A New Buyer, Will Not Divest Flower Seeds …

Syngenta has announced that it will likely approve an offer from ChemChina to acquire the company, which means it no longer plans to divest its flower seed business.

Read More
State of the industry 2016

January 21, 2016

Green Industry Is Set For Continued Growth In 2016

Economist Charlie Hall says the outlook for the green industry is promising despite the havoc wreaked on plant sales by the downturn in housing.

Read More
How will growers' production in 2016 compare to 2015

January 18, 2016

2016 State Of The Greenhouse Industry Numbers At A Glan…

Greenhouse Grower‘s 2016 State Of The Industry Survey shows some promising trends for the new year. Here’s a look at the greenhouse market for 2016, in graphics.     For a more in-depth analysis of where the industry stands, read Greenhouse Grower‘s 2016 State Of The Industry article, “Growers And Suppliers Move Forward With Cautious Optimism In 2016.”

Read More
Top Concerns sidebar

January 18, 2016

Growers And Suppliers Move Forward With Cautious Optimi…

A year of growth in 2015 also had its share of challenges, and as a result, growers and suppliers are a bit more guarded going into 2016. After a few years of extreme weather and drought, a massive ongoing labor shortage, a shaky economy, and increased government regulation, Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 State Of The Industry Survey shows growers and retailers are moving forward with cautious optimism. Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 State Of The Industry Survey included separate questions for growers and for suppliers. Of our 358 respondents, 103 were suppliers, 111 were grower-retailers, 109 were wholesale growers, and 35 were young plant growers. Among growers, 57% indicated their operations were small (less than 100,000 square feet), 21% were medium-sized (100,000 to 399,999 square feet), and 22% said they were large growers (400,000 square feet or larger). Sixty-eight percent of the grower respondents said their sales grew in 2015 over 2014, down […]

Read More
State of the industry 2016

January 14, 2016

Craig Regelbrugge Says 2016 Will Be A Year Of Waiting F…

The 2016 presidential election will make for slow progress on critical regulatory issues like health care, pollinator health, and immigration reform.

Read More

December 29, 2015

The Home Depot Says No To Neonics

The Home Depot plans to phase out neonicotinoids by 2018, according to a recent statement on the company’s website. The large home improvement retailer stated that its live goods suppliers have reduced the number of plants that they treat with neonicotinoids, and now more than 80% of all flowering plants sold at The Home Depot are not treated with neonicotinoids. The retailer said it will continue this decrease unless: Treatment is required by state or federal regulation, or Undisputed science proves that the use of neonicotinoids on live goods does not have a lethal or sub-lethal effect on pollinators Aside from these exceptions, the retailer has implemented a complete phase-out of neonicotinoid use on live goods by the end of 2018. Meanwhile, The Home Depot has required all of its live goods suppliers to label plants that have been treated with neonicotinoids. “The Home Depot is deeply engaged in understanding the […]

Read More
Pollinator-Conference-NC State

December 9, 2015

Pollinator Gardens Are On The Rise, Provide Opportuniti…

Thanks to the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, enacted in June 2015 by the National Pollinator Garden Network, scores of new pollinator gardens to be planted over the next year and beyond will provide growers with ample opportunities to produce, promote and sell plants that are ideal for pollinator forage and health. And with research underway within the industry, we’ll soon have more knowledge about which plants are the most beneficial and attractive to pollinators. At Bayer’s Bee Care Center, the level of consumer engagement and interest in planting pollinator gardens is very high, Bayer’s Sarah Myers says. Bayer now has 73 local and industry partners and counting in its “Feed A Bee Campaign,” launched in March. Educating consumers about what they can plant to attract bees, and the impact they can have with even the smallest amount of space, is highly important, Myers says. It’s worth explaining to them that […]

Read More
foodscaping at epcot - Foodscaping Goes Big At Disney

December 9, 2015

Foodscaping Challenges Conventional Ideas About Landsca…

Conventional ideas about what a landscape should look like are being challenged left and right, from young homeowners like Sarah Baker of Baker’s Acres, who are standing up for their right not to mow their lawns, to Brie Arthur’s passion to start a movement to incorporate food with flowers throughout suburban and urban landscapes nationwide. As younger generations step up as consumers and industry leaders, these changes are likely to continue, and the horticulture industry, which has the most to gain, would be remiss not to embrace and influence them. Well known for her personal foodscape, which she has promoted across social media, and her annual tomato-tasting fundraising event benefiting the nearby J.C. Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, N.C., Brie Arthur has also been working with schools and her local Homeowner Association (HOA) to challenge the traditional idea of the landscape to one that incorporates the growing of food with mainstream, […]

Read More

November 20, 2015

Lessons Learned From The California Drought

For those of us who live in the areas of the country that experienced harsh winters and significant rain over the past three seasons, water has become a nuisance in some cases, rather than a blessing. I can’t count the number of times I have wished to be able to send the snow or the rain to the West Coast, tied up with a big red bow. But think about how we’d feel if we didn’t have the snow and the rain, and we were experiencing the same dry conditions that the residents of California, Oregon and Washington have. With fresh water supplies dwindling in regions of the world, and the resistance of residents in states like Michigan to share water from the Great Lakes, it’s likely that the next civil or world war could be fought over our most precious resource. California’s epic drought should cause everyone to look […]

Read More
Kate Santos Operations Director Dummen Orange

November 18, 2015

Kate Santos Presents New Opportunities For The Horticul…

Dr. Kate Santos is a scientist, an artist, an advocate, a traveler, a dreamer, a visionary and a go-getter. Well-known for her work managing Dümmen Orange as Operations Director, Santos has taken on a new role as co-founder of Luxflora, an organization for women in horticulture.

Read More
MPS Sustainable Quality Logo

November 17, 2015

International Seminar Finds Broad-Based Need For Indust…

Achieving durability and maximum transparency is the responsibility of the entire floriculture supply chain, was the main conclusion of the seminar “Shaping the Future of Floriculture,” which took place on Monday 9 November on the S.S. Rotterdam in The Netherlands. With just under 300 participants, the seminar, organized by Union Fleurs, VGB and MPS, received plenty of attention.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

November 11, 2015

Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 State of The In…

The State of the Industry report, which uses input from both growers and suppliers, is designed to help you understand this year's crop and sales trends, as well as the issues that keep you up at night.

Read More

November 11, 2015

Drought Has Triggered A New Normal For The California L…

California is now entering its fifth year of the worst drought in 500 years, with no end in sight. Weather experts predict the current drought will continue into 2016, despite optimistic projections of increased rain patterns this winter caused by a strong El Niño ocean current. Residents have fully bought in to the emergency, and embraced Governor Jerry Brown’s April 1 mandate to reduce water usage by 25 percent. Even after an above-average hot summer, the state has exceeded its goal, with a per-month average of 28 percent water reduction. Some of the ways homeowners are being encouraged to reduce their outdoor water use are concerning, but the good news is, drought-tolerant landscaping and awareness of water-wise gardening is on the rise. Cash For Grass Rebates Have Landowners Trading In Their Lawns When Governor Brown’s water reduction mandate was announced in April, consumer reaction was reflected in the sales at […]

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]