Smooth Transition For Southeast

With drought shutting down markets in much of the Southeast last year, many were concerned attendance also would be down at the Southeast Greenhouse Conference. But last week, show organizers were pleased to see the numbers did keep pace with last year.

Held in Greenville, S.C., at the Carolina First Center June 19-21, the Southeast Greenhouse Conference is a true regional show, with most of the attendees driving in for the event. Seven state associations and supporting land-grant universities organize the event, representing Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. This was the first year the show was managed by OFA, which also manages the Short Course in Columbus, Ohio, America In Bloom and Ohio Produce Growers & Marketers Association.

One of the conference’s traditions is recognizing an individual who has made a major contribution to the floriculture industry by presenting the Horticulture Initiative Award. This year’s honoree is Anna Ball, president and CEO of Ball Horticultural Co., who also was the keynote speaker, presenting her evolving take on industry trends from a global perspective from one of the world’s leading breeders and distributors in flowering plants.

The conference also presents the Doug Hull Service Award to recognize a dedicated volunteer. This year’s recipient is Loraine Sutton of M&L Greenhouse in Shelbyville, Tenn., who is currently serving as the conference’s secretary on the board of directors.

Dealing With Drought

This topic has been so important at both the state and municipal level, that a full day of seminars was devoted to “What You Need to Know Right Now to Survive the Drought.”
The program was facilitated by Dr. Paul Thomas, Extension agent and professor at the University of Georgia (UGA), who has seen more than 40 percent of the state’s wholesale growers close their doors in the last year due to watering bans.

The seminars began with guidance on how to weather any type of disaster that could shut down your business, man-made or natural. While representatives of Nationwide Agribusiness walked attendees through putting together an Emergency Action Plan, UGA ag economist Forrest Stegelin emphasized the importance of cash flow and the need to restructure or scale back your business during recessionary times.

On the water use side, UGA’s Marc van Iersel demonstrated ways growers can implement more efficient irrigation systems, store more water for future use and be more in tune with the amount of irrigation plants require by using moisture sensors. If legislators view growers as water wasters, the burden is on growers to prove they are not, he says.

On the varieties side, UGA’s Bodie Pennisi asked growers and retailers to reconsider their crop mix and promote plants that will perform well with less watering. Varieties came under fire in Georgia when the state legislature adopted a very limited list of annuals and perennials that could be grown and sold in the state as “drought tolerant” species. Our industry supports a best management practices approach and putting the right plant in the right place. Any type of list would be too limiting and not based on research that truly defines drought tolerance.

The day concluded with a panel discussion representing key Southeastern states and the green industry’s experiences working with water districts, municipalities and state government in each. Panelists included Dave Self of Wyld West Annuals in Florida, Robert Milks of Van Wingerden International in North Carolina, Carole Barton of Barton’s Greenhouse & Nursery in Alabama, UGA’s Mathew Chapel representing Georgia Green Industry Association and Chris Butts of Georgia Urban Ag Council. The take-away message was how important it is for the green industry to have unified voice at the state level and for state associations to invest in lobbying and promotion. Florida Nursery Growers & Landscape Association has a strong track record, which has led to the industry participating in solutions at the state and water district levels.

The next day Greenhouse Grower facilitated an industry luncheon and panel discussion, “Seeking Clout In Times of Drought,” sponsored by Fafard. For the highlights of this event, click here.

Leave a Reply

More From State of the Industry...
Lavandula 'Meerlo' (Sunset Western Garden Collection)

March 3, 2015

Why You Will Still Grow Today’s Big Perennial 10 Years From Now

What will be the next big perennial? Breeders say it takes more than a splashy plant to distinguish itself in the market. Therefore, the question is not what will be the next big perennial, but rather what perennial performs well enough in the garden to have staying power in the market for years to come.

Read More

March 2, 2015

Avoid Surprises On The Delivery Dock

A call in advance about problems with a plant shipment to a retailer you supply goes a long way toward customer satisfaction.

Read More
Janeen Wright

March 2, 2015

Deliver Plant Quality That Trumps Price [Opinion]

The industry's goal is to have loyal customers who return to the same plants time and time again, not because of price, but owing to a plant brand that shouts top-notch garden performance and is synonymous with excellence, which gives them the secure knowledge that their investment will be worth every hard-earned cent.

Read More
Latest Stories
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

February 2, 2015

Download Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 State Of The In…

The Greenhouse Grower 2015 State Of The Industry Whitepaper includes all the results of the survey, including comparisons on 2014 sales to past years, details on how 2015 production volume and prices will compare to 2014, crops that growers will increase and decrease production on, where growers stand on using neonicotinoids on crops, how many growers will pursue growing medical marijuana and more.

Read More

January 27, 2015

Benchmarks: Let’s Change Our Story

It's a new year. Time for our industry to change how consumers perceive plants by creating a new reality where plants are valued for more than their physical beauty.

Read More

January 21, 2015

AFE Wins Platinum MarCom Award For “Murder, Sex a…

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) took home its fourth award for the animated awareness video "Murder, Sex and Greed." The organization also recently announced that there are two new members on its board of trustees.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

January 19, 2015

2015 State Of The Industry: Current Green Industry Tren…

Demand for green industry products and services is forecasted to increase in coming years as the housing market rebounds.

Read More

January 14, 2015

Terra Nigra Joins DNA Green Group

DNA Green Group will be expanding its range of cut flowers by incorporating Terra Nigra, a company specializing in breeding and propagation of gerberas and roses.

Read More

January 14, 2015

Florensis Receives Horticultural Entrepreneur Award

During the January 7, 2015 award ceremony in the Keukenhof, in Lisse, Netherlands, Florensis received the Horticultural Entrepreneur Award. Florensis was one of four nominated companies, which also included Arcadia BV, Artemis and Martens Asperges.

Read More
AmericanHort

January 9, 2015

AmericanHort Celebrates Its First Birthday

AmericanHort was formally launched one year ago on January 1, 2014, and the association is celebrating numerous successes of the first year.

Read More
Carol Miller

January 7, 2015

We’re All In This Together

Growers and retailers have a common goal — to serve customers better. In this new column, Greenhouse Grower will take a look at ways growers and retailers can work together to take advantage of profit opportunities and better meet customer needs.

Read More

January 7, 2015

Industry Speaks Out Against “Waters Of The U.S.” Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule change to the Clean Water Act, known as “waters of the U.S.,” has the potential to disrupt normal business practices for growers across the country.

Read More

January 7, 2015

Students Tackle Real-Life Challenges At National FFA Fl…

Top prize winners put skills learned in the classroom to the test at the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Floriculture Career Development Event.

Read More
Lesley Judd

January 7, 2015

2014 Meister Scholarship Awarded To Ph.D Student

The Richard T. Meister Scholarship was awarded to Lesley Judd, a graduate student with a passion for horticulture and a desire to pass her knowledge along through teaching.

Read More

January 6, 2015

39th Annual Today’s Horticulture Symposium Will Be Febr…

The Professional Gardener Alumni Association (PGAA) will hold the 39th Annual Today’s Horticulture Symposium program will be on February 6, 2015 from 8 a.m. or 4 p.m. in the Ballroom at Longwood Gardens, and will feature an array of engaging speakers.

Read More
Shawn McBurney

January 6, 2015

Society Of American Florists Hires New Lobbyist

Shawn McBurney joined the Society of American Florists' (SAF) staff starting January 5 as the new senior director of government relations.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

January 5, 2015

Growers Are Optimistic For A Strong Year In 2015

Greenhouse Grower’s State Of The Industry survey reveals that growers are being cautious about the inputs they use, and they’re worried about input costs and regulation, but enthusiastic about the rebounding economy.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

January 5, 2015

The 2015 State Of The Greenhouse Industry: Numbers At A…

Greenhouse Grower's 2015 State Of The Industry Survey shows some promising trends for the new year. Here's a look at the greenhouse market for 2015.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

January 5, 2015

Suppliers Will Increase Prices, Grower Education For 20…

Vendors' expectations are high for 2015, according to their responses on Greenhouse Grower's 2015 State Of The Industry Survey.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

December 31, 2014

2015 State Of The Industry: Major Changes In Washington…

Immigration, tax and regulatory reforms are a few important issues to watch in 2015. Still, the horticulture industry is on the threshold of change and has reason to be optimistic.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

December 31, 2014

2015 State Of The Industry: 2015 Brings More Debate On …

Pollinator health dominated regulatory discussions in 2014 and will continue to do so in 2015. Expect to see another busy year of regulatory changes and research.

Read More