View: A Positive Outlook On 2009

View: A Positive Outlook On 2009

Al Zylstra, a TrueLeaf Technologies national sales manager based in California, can see the light at the end of the tunnel. He believes the economy is on the upswing and that growers and garden center retailers should be prepared to pounce on the opportunities ahead.

And The Economic Reality Is?
 
Recession. Depression. Economic adjustment. Financial meltdown. Conflagration of Wall Street and financial industry greed. Housing market bubble bursting. Deleveraging. Or, whatever it is you want to call it! How much longer will it last? What can growers expect this spring?

I’m going to go out on a limb and hereby prognosticate that we will soon see that we’ve already hit the bottom of the trough, and that we have already been bumping along the bottom for a few weeks or so. After another month or so, we will begin the slow, initially jerky but none-the-less steady rise back to economic normalcy–whatever that actually is.
 
So, you heard it here, and if it proves true, remember that! If not, well, you should read the Wall Street Journal for that kind of information anyway.
 
How can I say that? Well, first, I spent a chunk of my previous life in the financial industry, learned a few things and endured a few significant economic cycles along the way. I believe history is the best predictor. I read a lot about the economy every day, and I pay close attention to developing economic trends. I’ve had a pretty good track record of anticipating what is going on.
 
So, if you care to know: First, the news media can only report what has already happened, and it thrives on reporting the most negative aspects of what has already happened. Hence, by carefully reading the economic opinions and recited data, it is revealed over the past couple weeks that a preponderance of the negative news is from a few weeks back (late-November). And much of that has been trending back toward the positive for a couple months already. 

The stock market and commodities markets began settling down from their wild gyrations a few weeks ago, and these markets generally reflect bets on future activity–not past results. The financial industry came to the brink of ruin, but it managed to survive by the good graces of the American public and some folks in Washington D.C. who were paying attention for a change. And while not completely behind us, the recovery is beginning.

The auto industry is in the throws of what appears to be a nearly identical process, and with some major adjustments to come, it is not going to be allowed to fail (at least in a wholesale fashion). 

The housing sector appears to be at or near the bottom and poised to stabilize as fresh capital and spring demand come into the market. The consumer retail industry is currently engaged in the post-holiday collapse that has been anticipated already by the stock market and will emerge much leaner and smaller in just a few short weeks (but it’s going to sound really bad for a while). 

A new executive administration is soon to enter office with all of the promise that it usually brings. Finally, the largesse of taxpayer funds is just beginning to pour into the market in historic portions to stimulate the living tweedle out of us. 
 
Add to all of that the inimitable American public’s refusal to stay down for long and our demonstrated ability to pull ourselves up when things look the bleakest, and you have the makings of a recovery.
 
The government has arrived to help. How can it go wrong?    

What’s it mean? We are back to the one basic reality we all know is the primary driver of the success of our business from one year to the next, something even more fickle than the economy: The weather in spring! 
 
There’s nothing that drives garden center sales like a pleasing weekend forecast and a sunny Saturday! And when people have already been enduring a long winter of bad weather and financial discontent, and they have decided they can’t or shouldn’t splurge on some big luxury ticket, they will probably be even more excited or incited to go pick up some plants to perk up the garden and the deck and get on with life.

Celebrate the news that the economy is improving and get a little more enjoyment out of the “staycation” they’re planning this summer and feeling better about anyway. 

Will you be ready to capitalize on it? Or, are you planning to contribute another self-fulfilling prophecy of doom? I think the growers that plan to capitalize on it will win in two ways:

1) They will get the business they usually get, and;
2) They will get the business of the growers and retailers that didn’t plan to capitalize on it.
 
Do you want to participate in the coming economic recovery?  It is coming to a garden center near you soon!

Leave a Reply

34 comments on “View: A Positive Outlook On 2009

  1. I not only agree, but it is truly refreshing to hear positive talk about our industry and the economy as a whole. It’s understandable that a lot of people are discouraged, but we either push forward or “roll over and die”. So many people I talk to say they’re not ordering hardgoods, shutting down most production, and taking a wait and see approach, all while understanding they may have to close the doors on their business if they have a bad year. How does anyone expect to have a good year if they don’t keep taking the same risks they always have to build their business? Not to mention that plan B is to “see what happens” and possibly shut down… then what? Have thousands of dollars in land, greenhouses, supplies and years of hard work deteriorate while you collect unemployment and look for a new career in the worst job market we’ve had in a decade or two? I’m not saying take new, bold risks, but I feel we all need to refocus our energy away from negativity and find new ways to make money and exist. Find solutions, not excuses. I apologize if this is slightly abrasive, but it’s the truth and we can all get through this with a little help and motivation from eachother!

    I appreciate your great article and insight, Al, and hope that many of us can not only learn from it, but also take advantage of this opportunity!

  2. Hallelujah. Someone with a positive attitude!! If you keep telling me I am purple, after a while I will believe it; shame on the news people for pushing such negative thoughts to the public. I have always believed that positive thoughts overcome negative; it really takes some effort to be negative and I really do not want to take more pepcids!! I too am planning a GREAT spring, why, because I will make it happen!!

    Thanks for the article Al. That is one At A Boy for you.

  3. Way to go Al,

    I just returned from the MANTS show in Baltimore, MD with the same positive feelings as yours. As I ponder on the economic state of our green industry and what I should do during the upcoming seasons I feel as though to ease up on production would be foolish. The attitudes of the buyers I found to be positive, even for the ones ( many of them ) that had a drop in sales for 08′.

    Murphy

  4. Al’s optimism is as refreshing as a warm Spring rain. There certainly is some good news for our industry in lower energy costs, decreasing raw material costs for plastics and other materials, and maybe even a loosening of credit for long overdue capital expenditures. But it’s going to be more about seizing on opportunities created by the drastic economic events that still continue to rock the nation. The trillion or more dollars in economic stimulus the next President and Congress will pass out to the worthy and unworthy will ultimately cause further decay to the US dollar value worldwide. Unemployment rates will continue to rise and when they do finally level off or turn around it will likely be for lower paying jobs than were lost. These two factors should give US growers and manufacturers the opportunity to expand and export.

  5. 2008 Nobel Prize winner in economics, Paul Krugman, would disagree with your optimistic take. Your opinion is neither realistic, nor beneficial to growers.

    The housing market has not found a bottom. The lack of US demand for Chinese and Indian produced goods is taking down their economies.

    We remain tied to an oil driven economy which, when demand for oil returns, will continue to weaken the dollar through an imbalance of trade. Get real.

  6. I’m sorry Tom, I don’t want to start a debate by any means, but feel obligated to respond to your statement. With all due respect, Paul Krugman didn’t win a Nobel Prize in “fortune telling” or “positive outlook studies”. So who knows what we can accomplish this year and if all the economic experts are so great and have flawless predictions, why are we even in this predicament in the first place?? I don’t disagree with your facts and we’re all very aware of them, but writing something to further drive down the hope, faith, and positive thinking that our whole population NEEDS right now, in my opinion is disrespectful and this isn’t the right place to voice that opinion and basically insult the author!

    I just don’t understand, do you suggest we all sit on our hands and watch time go by until the world comes to an end?(figure of speech). Or should we rally together, look harder for opportunities, help eachother with suggestions, and push forward? I apologize to everybody for taking offense and making it personal in a public discussion, but it would be nice to hear some optimism and opinions of how we’re going to get through this current economy. Not negativity and criticism…anyone agree??

  7. You got it right Micheal

    I would feel safe to say that every person in our industry has at one time been stressed with our ever changing market.
    Tom, look at your product in relation to the consumer needs and make a couple of adjustments and you will have a more positive outlook. The housing decline has opened the door to the “curbside appeal” sales. Unless your selling pottery or other hard good products the Chinese and Indian market should not have much of an impact on your sales (if so, than find a higher quality hard good to offer). And the price of oil is down, just in time for the growing season. Change the way you think for a moment and you can find solutions.

    My sales and profits have both increased in 08′ and I am looking forward to an even better year in 09′. I will have to make some changes to achieve this, but “hey” if this business was easy than even a pessimist would make money.

  8. While I agree that we cannot afford to sit around worrying about what is going to happen this spring, I also would say that we cannot get over excited about the great possibilities for this year. As is the case most of the time, it is important to keep a close eye on inventory and keep that merchandise turning. I don’t think this would be the year to try expanding operations or take a big risk on something new. There are better times to try that than now, when so much of the economy is not doing well.
    Sorry Michael but I don’t see the evidence that the housing market has hit bottom nor that the financial markets are completely settled down. And no, that doesn’t mean I’m rude, or that I am driving other people into despair. It means that I am looking at everything I can to make sure I make the right decisions for this season and keep risk to a minimum for now.
    As the saying goes, ‘Slow and steady wins the race.’

  9. Chris, I apologize if I confused anyone, but I agree with you and Tom both. I think you make great points and we’re all aware of the downsides and risks. I was just glad to hear some optimism and people talking about opportunities, rather than getting discouraged. That’s what the article was about, and I hate to see anyone get off the subject and tell Al that his “opinion is neither realistic, nor beneficial to growers”.

  10. The interesting thing about this discussion is that everyone is right. Our attitude is a choice and like Al, I am more positive than negative. Having lived thru a few of these “downturns” gives you prosceptive. Part of what no one wants to say is that this was a needed adjustment (part of the free market process). When things get wild (or too wild), the market contracts, slows down and adjusts. My good retailers are making good decisions. A few have closed (my client base is over 600 retailers and 2 have closed) their doors but since when is that a bad sign or even abnormal in any market? Going into business (retail or otherwise), or staying in business requires a certain fortitude that not everyone has. Things are difficult right now, but that is always when we get the most done. Spring will come, just like always, and people will buy plants. Maybe not as much as before…maybe more. But there is still good money to be made and that is the real point.

  11. I Agree that the economy is not at the bottom. I have talked to several people in
    excavating and construction. The one constant thing that I hear is that we still have some work but nothing new is coming in. A comment from a realtor “I feel like I am unemployed”. I am however optimistic about the greenhouse industry. I still believe that bad economy cant trump good weather, and good economy cant overcome bad weather. Give us nice weekends in april and we should do fine.

  12. When I was growing up, 40-50 years ago, an old German grower who survived WWII and the economic turmoil of the times, said that when there are bad times, three industeries didn’t collapse, but stayed flat or even increased a bit…liquor, pets and plants. All three are relatively low ticket commodities and make people feel good. I have never seen a spring season that totally tanked. Some springs are more adversely affected by weather and some areas are harder hit, but, overall, spring is spring. My opinion is that with a new administration, new optimism in the buying public, spring will be at worst, slightly down, but not in the crapper.

  13. Thanks for erasing my previous post. I guess that this is the change we were hoping to see. More censorship, less freedom of speech. Good luck out there “journalists” and small business men and women. Welcome to the USSA!
    Btw, Optimism is always good. Realism is also good. Just “hoping” things will get better isn’t enough. Given the current rapid trend towards socialism, business owners and entrepreneurs had better start working politically for this country or they will be sitting on the sideline “hoping” for a govt. bailout!

  14. While not everyone need agree with Al’s opinion that the economy is set to rebound, several facts still remain: The green goods industry is always more driven by weather than economic factors. Just ask the growers in the Southeast. Last year, the economy was on fire. However, drought conditions in the Southeast caused many greenhouses to close, forced the sale of at least one large retailer and certainly hurt the profits and futures of many in our industry.

    Secondly, those choosing to participate in a recession, that is, cutting production drastically with no chance of making it up, will certainly suffer that exact fate. Al is correct in that some growers will profit from this coming spring. Those growers that have chosen to continue to produce product will have no trouble selling out with margins intact. From the doom and gloom we hear, many growers have cut back. This will undoubtedly lead to a shortage of plants. Growers with stock will be the beneficiaries of this supply vs. demand situation.

    Bottom line: if it is sunny and you have plants, it should be a good year!

  15. You all make many good points. I have read this with great interest, here’s my take. We are at a pinnacle for change in this industry. I think many trends we have been seeing in our area for more pre-potted & high end items are going away. I think the higher end items are going to be replaced with basic seed items and vegetable flats.
    For many years people had other places to go spend money, now people are no longer satisfied spending money without something to show for it. People were also pressed for time, or thought they were, so they weren’t spending much time in their yards.
    So doesn’t it make sense that people will be more apt to garden this spring? The feel good of plants, the curb-appeal of their yards, the spare time?
    Let’s also not forget that with so many people unemployed the silver lining is that a bad week-end won’t keep people out of the garden centers. This is something no one has mentioned, but it is in the back of my mind, a nice sunny Wednesday may see a garden center swarmed if the weekend before was bad?
    Maybe things will get worse, but they will also eventually get better and this spring we need to get consumers excited about our product again, so that when they have less time and more money again in the future, we aren’t left behind, wondering what happened.

  16. hello all,

    I currently have a great job, with a company not really being affected by the economy. I work for a cable company and it seems people are at home more and watching more tv, so no real loss on this end. My question is this, I have an oppertunity to go to work for a greenhouse working as the managing grower. they wanted some one with no prior knowledge to train as they see fit. the pay would be about the same as i make now, with benefits. I am just scared of the economy and what will happen to them. they have gone from a million dollar company to 5-8 million over the last 2 years. they sell to one of the big box stores here in the south and have done really good with them. any ideas on if this is good idea to change to this field during this economy or stay were i am at and wade it out? this would be a great oppertunity for me to get in with this mom and pop company that has been around for 16 years, but i’m scared to leave my current job. thanks in advance for any comments, scrutiny or what ever you have for me.

  17. I not only agree, but it is truly refreshing to hear positive talk about our industry and the economy as a whole. It’s understandable that a lot of people are discouraged, but we either push forward or “roll over and die”. So many people I talk to say they’re not ordering hardgoods, shutting down most production, and taking a wait and see approach, all while understanding they may have to close the doors on their business if they have a bad year. How does anyone expect to have a good year if they don’t keep taking the same risks they always have to build their business? Not to mention that plan B is to “see what happens” and possibly shut down… then what? Have thousands of dollars in land, greenhouses, supplies and years of hard work deteriorate while you collect unemployment and look for a new career in the worst job market we’ve had in a decade or two? I’m not saying take new, bold risks, but I feel we all need to refocus our energy away from negativity and find new ways to make money and exist. Find solutions, not excuses. I apologize if this is slightly abrasive, but it’s the truth and we can all get through this with a little help and motivation from eachother!

    I appreciate your great article and insight, Al, and hope that many of us can not only learn from it, but also take advantage of this opportunity!

  18. Hallelujah. Someone with a positive attitude!! If you keep telling me I am purple, after a while I will believe it; shame on the news people for pushing such negative thoughts to the public. I have always believed that positive thoughts overcome negative; it really takes some effort to be negative and I really do not want to take more pepcids!! I too am planning a GREAT spring, why, because I will make it happen!!

    Thanks for the article Al. That is one At A Boy for you.

  19. Way to go Al,

    I just returned from the MANTS show in Baltimore, MD with the same positive feelings as yours. As I ponder on the economic state of our green industry and what I should do during the upcoming seasons I feel as though to ease up on production would be foolish. The attitudes of the buyers I found to be positive, even for the ones ( many of them ) that had a drop in sales for 08′.

    Murphy

  20. Al’s optimism is as refreshing as a warm Spring rain. There certainly is some good news for our industry in lower energy costs, decreasing raw material costs for plastics and other materials, and maybe even a loosening of credit for long overdue capital expenditures. But it’s going to be more about seizing on opportunities created by the drastic economic events that still continue to rock the nation. The trillion or more dollars in economic stimulus the next President and Congress will pass out to the worthy and unworthy will ultimately cause further decay to the US dollar value worldwide. Unemployment rates will continue to rise and when they do finally level off or turn around it will likely be for lower paying jobs than were lost. These two factors should give US growers and manufacturers the opportunity to expand and export.

  21. 2008 Nobel Prize winner in economics, Paul Krugman, would disagree with your optimistic take. Your opinion is neither realistic, nor beneficial to growers.

    The housing market has not found a bottom. The lack of US demand for Chinese and Indian produced goods is taking down their economies.

    We remain tied to an oil driven economy which, when demand for oil returns, will continue to weaken the dollar through an imbalance of trade. Get real.

  22. I’m sorry Tom, I don’t want to start a debate by any means, but feel obligated to respond to your statement. With all due respect, Paul Krugman didn’t win a Nobel Prize in “fortune telling” or “positive outlook studies”. So who knows what we can accomplish this year and if all the economic experts are so great and have flawless predictions, why are we even in this predicament in the first place?? I don’t disagree with your facts and we’re all very aware of them, but writing something to further drive down the hope, faith, and positive thinking that our whole population NEEDS right now, in my opinion is disrespectful and this isn’t the right place to voice that opinion and basically insult the author!

    I just don’t understand, do you suggest we all sit on our hands and watch time go by until the world comes to an end?(figure of speech). Or should we rally together, look harder for opportunities, help eachother with suggestions, and push forward? I apologize to everybody for taking offense and making it personal in a public discussion, but it would be nice to hear some optimism and opinions of how we’re going to get through this current economy. Not negativity and criticism…anyone agree??

  23. You got it right Micheal

    I would feel safe to say that every person in our industry has at one time been stressed with our ever changing market.
    Tom, look at your product in relation to the consumer needs and make a couple of adjustments and you will have a more positive outlook. The housing decline has opened the door to the “curbside appeal” sales. Unless your selling pottery or other hard good products the Chinese and Indian market should not have much of an impact on your sales (if so, than find a higher quality hard good to offer). And the price of oil is down, just in time for the growing season. Change the way you think for a moment and you can find solutions.

    My sales and profits have both increased in 08′ and I am looking forward to an even better year in 09′. I will have to make some changes to achieve this, but “hey” if this business was easy than even a pessimist would make money.

  24. While I agree that we cannot afford to sit around worrying about what is going to happen this spring, I also would say that we cannot get over excited about the great possibilities for this year. As is the case most of the time, it is important to keep a close eye on inventory and keep that merchandise turning. I don’t think this would be the year to try expanding operations or take a big risk on something new. There are better times to try that than now, when so much of the economy is not doing well.
    Sorry Michael but I don’t see the evidence that the housing market has hit bottom nor that the financial markets are completely settled down. And no, that doesn’t mean I’m rude, or that I am driving other people into despair. It means that I am looking at everything I can to make sure I make the right decisions for this season and keep risk to a minimum for now.
    As the saying goes, ‘Slow and steady wins the race.’

  25. Chris, I apologize if I confused anyone, but I agree with you and Tom both. I think you make great points and we’re all aware of the downsides and risks. I was just glad to hear some optimism and people talking about opportunities, rather than getting discouraged. That’s what the article was about, and I hate to see anyone get off the subject and tell Al that his “opinion is neither realistic, nor beneficial to growers”.

  26. The interesting thing about this discussion is that everyone is right. Our attitude is a choice and like Al, I am more positive than negative. Having lived thru a few of these “downturns” gives you prosceptive. Part of what no one wants to say is that this was a needed adjustment (part of the free market process). When things get wild (or too wild), the market contracts, slows down and adjusts. My good retailers are making good decisions. A few have closed (my client base is over 600 retailers and 2 have closed) their doors but since when is that a bad sign or even abnormal in any market? Going into business (retail or otherwise), or staying in business requires a certain fortitude that not everyone has. Things are difficult right now, but that is always when we get the most done. Spring will come, just like always, and people will buy plants. Maybe not as much as before…maybe more. But there is still good money to be made and that is the real point.

  27. I Agree that the economy is not at the bottom. I have talked to several people in
    excavating and construction. The one constant thing that I hear is that we still have some work but nothing new is coming in. A comment from a realtor “I feel like I am unemployed”. I am however optimistic about the greenhouse industry. I still believe that bad economy cant trump good weather, and good economy cant overcome bad weather. Give us nice weekends in april and we should do fine.

  28. When I was growing up, 40-50 years ago, an old German grower who survived WWII and the economic turmoil of the times, said that when there are bad times, three industeries didn’t collapse, but stayed flat or even increased a bit…liquor, pets and plants. All three are relatively low ticket commodities and make people feel good. I have never seen a spring season that totally tanked. Some springs are more adversely affected by weather and some areas are harder hit, but, overall, spring is spring. My opinion is that with a new administration, new optimism in the buying public, spring will be at worst, slightly down, but not in the crapper.

  29. Thanks for erasing my previous post. I guess that this is the change we were hoping to see. More censorship, less freedom of speech. Good luck out there “journalists” and small business men and women. Welcome to the USSA!
    Btw, Optimism is always good. Realism is also good. Just “hoping” things will get better isn’t enough. Given the current rapid trend towards socialism, business owners and entrepreneurs had better start working politically for this country or they will be sitting on the sideline “hoping” for a govt. bailout!

  30. While not everyone need agree with Al’s opinion that the economy is set to rebound, several facts still remain: The green goods industry is always more driven by weather than economic factors. Just ask the growers in the Southeast. Last year, the economy was on fire. However, drought conditions in the Southeast caused many greenhouses to close, forced the sale of at least one large retailer and certainly hurt the profits and futures of many in our industry.

    Secondly, those choosing to participate in a recession, that is, cutting production drastically with no chance of making it up, will certainly suffer that exact fate. Al is correct in that some growers will profit from this coming spring. Those growers that have chosen to continue to produce product will have no trouble selling out with margins intact. From the doom and gloom we hear, many growers have cut back. This will undoubtedly lead to a shortage of plants. Growers with stock will be the beneficiaries of this supply vs. demand situation.

    Bottom line: if it is sunny and you have plants, it should be a good year!

  31. You all make many good points. I have read this with great interest, here’s my take. We are at a pinnacle for change in this industry. I think many trends we have been seeing in our area for more pre-potted & high end items are going away. I think the higher end items are going to be replaced with basic seed items and vegetable flats.
    For many years people had other places to go spend money, now people are no longer satisfied spending money without something to show for it. People were also pressed for time, or thought they were, so they weren’t spending much time in their yards.
    So doesn’t it make sense that people will be more apt to garden this spring? The feel good of plants, the curb-appeal of their yards, the spare time?
    Let’s also not forget that with so many people unemployed the silver lining is that a bad week-end won’t keep people out of the garden centers. This is something no one has mentioned, but it is in the back of my mind, a nice sunny Wednesday may see a garden center swarmed if the weekend before was bad?
    Maybe things will get worse, but they will also eventually get better and this spring we need to get consumers excited about our product again, so that when they have less time and more money again in the future, we aren’t left behind, wondering what happened.

  32. hello all,

    I currently have a great job, with a company not really being affected by the economy. I work for a cable company and it seems people are at home more and watching more tv, so no real loss on this end. My question is this, I have an oppertunity to go to work for a greenhouse working as the managing grower. they wanted some one with no prior knowledge to train as they see fit. the pay would be about the same as i make now, with benefits. I am just scared of the economy and what will happen to them. they have gone from a million dollar company to 5-8 million over the last 2 years. they sell to one of the big box stores here in the south and have done really good with them. any ideas on if this is good idea to change to this field during this economy or stay were i am at and wade it out? this would be a great oppertunity for me to get in with this mom and pop company that has been around for 16 years, but i’m scared to leave my current job. thanks in advance for any comments, scrutiny or what ever you have for me.

More From State of the Industry...
The-Capitol

July 7, 2015

Washington Gridlock Could Block Industry Research Funding

The latest standoff on Capitol Hill could have some implications for the floral industry, including future funding for floriculture and nursery research initiative activities, says Shawn McBurney, SAF’s senior director of government relations. “Republicans in the House and Senate are determined to work within the sequester-imposed limits for domestic spending in the federal budget, but Democrats have threatened to block any appropriations bills until Republicans agree to spend more money than that agreement allows,” McBurney says. “With both sides digging in, there could be an impact on budgets that affect programs and services important to the floral industry.” The back and forth over spending limits isn’t new, McBurney says. In 2013, then-Budget Committee Chairmen Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) negotiated an agreement that increased spending levels for defense and nondefense discretionary spending equally above the sequester level for two years, offset by fee increases and changes to mandatory […]

Read More
Medal of Excellence Award

July 6, 2015

Get To Know The 9 Variety Finalists For Editor’s Choice And Industry’s Choice Awards

Greenhouse Grower‘s Evening Of Excellence reception is rapidly approaching. Here, you can learn more about the varieties that are finalists for the Medal Of Excellence Editor’s Choice and Industry’s Choice Breeding Awards. Thank you to the 2015 sponsors of Greenhouse Grower‘s Medal Of Excellence Awards, Landmark Plastic, Nufarm and Stockosorb. Editor’s Choice Asclepias ‘Monarch Promise’ (Hort Couture) Basil ‘Balsamic Blooms’ (EuroAmerican Propagators) Celosia ‘Dragon’s Breath’ (Sakata Seed) Dianthus Jolt Series (PanAmerican Seed) Salvia Grandstand Series (Green Fuse Botanicals) Scabiosa ‘Kudos Pink’ (Hishtil Nurseries) Industry’s Choice Basil ‘Balsamic Blooms’ (EuroAmerican Propagators) Bidens BeeDance Series (Suntory Flowers) Celosia ‘Dragon’s Breath’ (Sakata Seed) Dianthus Jolt Series (PanAmerican Seed) Lobelia ‘Starship Deep Rose’ (Kieft Seed) Vinca Valiant Series (PanAmerican Seed)     Join us Monday, July 13 in Ballroom 2 at the Columbus Convention Center to find out which varieties will receive the coveted awards. The reception begins at 5:15 p.m. and the ceremony […]

Read More
crider-rd2-internal_Rough-Brothers_featured

July 1, 2015

Rough Brothers Is Acquired By Gibraltar Industries

RBI Solar Inc., Rough Brothers Manufacturing Inc. and affiliates have been acquired by Gibraltar Industries, a manufacturer and distributor of products for residential and industrial markets, for $130 million. Capitalizing on its 80 years of design-build experience and leadership as the largest greenhouse manufacturer in North America, Ohio-based RBI has established itself during the past five years as North America’s fastest-growing provider of photovoltaic (PV) solar racking solutions. The transaction will enable Gibraltar to leverage its expertise in structural metals manufacturing and materials sourcing to meet global demand for solar racking solutions. The company also announced that it anticipates its second-quarter 2015 financial results will be in line with its previous expectations. “Acquiring RBI is an important step in the transformation of Gibraltar into a company with a higher rate of growth and best-in-class financial metrics,” says Gibraltar CEO Frank Heard. “This acquisition directly aligns with key end markets and product platforms […]

Read More
Latest Stories

June 30, 2015

Opportunities Abound For Women In Horticulture, Says Do…

My love for horticulture goes back to my grandparents who were farmers in upstate New York. My family’s involvement in agriculture left a lasting impression that has spanned decades, and still drives my passion for our industry today. I started my career in horticulture when I owned a greenhouse, nursery and garden center in Sayville, Long Island, N.Y. We specialized in ground cover production, later branching out to producing perennials and bedding plants.     I then went onto wholesale hard goods distribution. In the 1980s, I was the first woman salesperson on Long Island. What an eye opener that was! New York is a very special place, different from anywhere else in the country. You cannot imagine how difficult it was walking into greenhouses and nurseries as a woman, in a man’s world. Luckily, I grew up in New York City in an Italian family, who taught me great […]

Read More

June 10, 2015

Women In Horticulture Should Celebrate Their Difference…

Maria Costa-Smith, executive vice president at Costa Farms in Miami, Fla., says she believes in equal treatment for equal work. She encourages women in horticulture to work hard, be team players, perform beyond expectations and add value to their organizations. Fulfilling Her Dreams Maria Costa-Smith grew up in the horticulture industry, and never doubted that she wanted a career in ornamental horticulture. Part of a family with a history steeped in agriculture, her grandfather, Jose Costa, was a farmer in Cuba, who sent her father, Tony Costa, to the University of Florida just before the Cuban Revolution to study agriculture. When the family uprooted in 1961 and fled to the U.S., they began growing tomatoes and citrus on a 30-acre plot of land in Miami, and soon after expanded into ornamentals. Thus, Costa Farms was established. Working on the farm with her father and grandfather, Costa-Smith says she was always […]

Read More
Pollinator-Conference-NC State

June 10, 2015

Experts Convene to Discuss How to Protect Bees, Other P…

A new conference organized by North Carolina State University (NC State) and Michigan State University (MSU) will focus on the need for bee-friendly ornamental landscapes and practical solutions for protecting bees and other pollinators. This autumn, researchers, educators and industry experts from around the country will descend on a small town in rural North Carolina to discuss a question with repercussions for both the economy and the environment: what can be done to protect bees and other pollinators? The conference is focused specifically on what can be done to not only conserve but also bolster pollinator populations in so-called ornamental landscapes, such as urban areas and manicured gardens. It is the brain child of two entomologists – Steve Frank of NC State and David Smitley of MSU. With pollinator declines in the news, public demand for bee-friendly ornamental plants is high, but much of the available research has addressed pesticides and […]

Read More
Terri McEnaney Bailey Nurseries headshot_featured

June 3, 2015

Bailey Nurseries’ Terri McEnaney Recognized By Mi…

Bailey Nurseries President Terri McEnaney was recently honored by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal in their Women in Business 2015 special issue. Those honored were chosen for the impact they have had on the business community in Minnesotoa, as well as their dedication to serving their community. McEnaney was honored for her leadership in growing the company significantly in terms of revenue, staff, global reach and brand development, as well as her strategic acumen and industry insight. Other honorees included executives from U.S. Bancorp, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Gilette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, the American Cancer Society, Cargill, 3M and Wells Fargo. “I am humbled to receive this honor from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal,” McEnaney says. “To be among this group of esteemed women is exciting. Seeing successful female leaders in other male-driven industries pushes me to continue working and encouraging women in horticulture to grow their passion into a long-term, fruitful career.” […]

Read More

June 3, 2015

Take Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 Spring Recap Survey

Please take a few minutes to answer Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 Spring Recap Survey. Your input will help us get a firmer grasp on how spring played out for growers and what we can expect in Spring 2015.

Read More
Bee on a Sedum

June 3, 2015

The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Launches With U…

The National Pollinator Garden Network (NPGN) launched the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge on June 3, just in time for National Pollinator Week, held June 21-25. The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge is a strategic effort to promote and protect the needs of pollinators in North America. Representatives of the recently formed Network joined First Lady Michelle Obama on June 3 for an event that’s part of her “Let’s Move” Initiative at the White House, to formally launch the Challenge. The launch of the Challenge is an unprecedented collaboration by dozens of conservation and gardening organizations, including green industry associations like AmericanHort, America in Bloom, Society of American Florists, American Floral Endowment, the National Garden Bureau and the American Horticultural Society. The organizations joined together to form the National Pollinator Garden Network and launch the new nationwide campaign – the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. Designed to accelerate growing efforts across America, the Network is launching the […]

Read More
Status of Marijuana US Map May 2015

May 29, 2015

Marijuana Legalization Updates

As of April 2015, 23 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some capacity. At the federal level, several bills are currently awaiting action. Here is an update on current state and federal marijuana legislation across the U.S.

Read More
cannabis, marijuana plant

May 29, 2015

Making The Decision To Produce Medical Marijuana

Should horticultural growers consider cultivating medical marijuana? That’s up to the individual grower, of course, and certainly a number of growers already have jumped in. We at Meister Media Worldwide, publishers of Greenhouse Grower and American Vegetable Grower, do not necessarily endorse nor oppose the production of medical marijuana. But we do feel it is an option worth exploring. We intend our “Medical Marijuana” series of articles to give you information you need to make your own call. We hope you find it useful, and we do welcome your comments, thoughts and ideas as we continue to cover what we’re fairly certain is only going to be an increasingly viable and growing market for this emerging crop.

Read More
water

May 27, 2015

California Growers To Voluntarily Cut Back Water Use

Farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta have agreed to reduce their water use by 25 percent in exchange for assurance that they will not face further curtailment during the June-September growing season. The proposal was approved by the State Water Resources Control Board on Friday, May 22. “This proposal helps Delta growers manage the risk of potentially deeper curtailment, while ensuring significant water conservation efforts in this fourth year of drought,” State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus says. “It allows participating growers to share in the sacrifice that people throughout the state are facing because of the severe drought, while protecting their economic well-being by giving them some certainty regarding exercise of the State Water Board’s enforcement discretion at the beginning of the planting season.” Growers who participate in the program could opt to either reduce water diversions under their riparian rights by 25 percent, or fallow 25 percent of their land. In both cases, the […]

Read More
Farwest2015

May 20, 2015

2015 Farwest Show Announces Second Annual Equipment Inn…

The second annual Equipment Innovation Day will be Tuesday, Aug. 25, prior to the 2015 Farwest show, which will be August 27-29 in Portland, Ore. Equipment Innovation Day, which was enthusiastically received in 2014, offers a real-time opportunity to see new heavy and automated nursery equipment in action. The demonstrations take place in manufacturing and nursery settings, adding value to the showcase. Attendees will be able to talk with participating manufacturers and learn first-hand from innovative growers who use the equipment in daily operations. The day-long event will be held at the main manufacturing plant of GK Machines, Inc., Donald, Ore. Further demonstrations of field equipment will take place at the nearby nursery of A&R Spada Farms, LLC. Bus travel to and from the event is planned, starting at and returning to the Oregon Convention Center. Attendees are welcome to provide their own travel to and from the site. Preregistration is required. The cost […]

Read More
CCGGA-Scholarship-Winners

May 20, 2015

Central Coast Greenhouse Growers Association Awards 201…

The Central Coast Greenhouse Growers Association (CCGGA) is awarding 20 scholarships this year to high school and college students. CCGGA-member nurseries raised money for the scholarship fund and each donated a portion of the fundraising sales to the fund, which is open to students currently enrolled in college for the following year. The scholarship program is also available to students of employees who work at CCGGA-member nurseries One of the organization’s goals is to continue encouraging future generations to enter the horticulture field and to promote higher education within the families that work in the local nursery business. The 2015 CCGGA scholarship recipients are: Aloysia Shea – Nipomo High School Andrew McHaney – CSalinas High School Angel Flores – Righetti High School Beatriz Barajas – San Jose State University Carolanne Garibay – Monterey Peninsula College Cladia Lavina – Salinas High School Erica Marquez-Ibarra – San Jose State University Jorge Zarate […]

Read More

May 18, 2015

Download Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 Top 100 Growers…

Greenhouse Grower‘s Top 100 Growers Survey revealed that our projections in the 2015 State Of The Industry report were correct: Growers, at least the large ones, are expanding. Greenhouse Grower’s annual Top 100 List ranks the largest U.S. growers by total square feet of environmentally controlled greenhouse space, although this year, we have also listed shade and field acreage, to give perspective on how large these operations are beyond the greenhouse. In total, the 2015 list represents 228,906,001 environmentally controlled square feet of U.S. production, a 5 percent increase over 2014. All told, 26 growers reported that their operation grew between 2014 and 2015. Several growers reduced their production over the past year, as well, and while some operations’ downsized numbers were significant, most were slight and probably typical of the give-and-take in the horticulture industry. Greenhouse Grower‘s 2015 Top 100 Growers Whitepaper includes all the results of the survey, […]

Read More
USDA Logo

May 13, 2015

New Report Shows College Graduates With Agriculture Deg…

A new report from the USDA shows high demand for recent college graduates with agriculture degrees, with an estimated 57,900  high-skilled job openings annually in the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources and environment fields in the U.S. According to an employment outlook report released by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Purdue University, there is an average of 35,400 new U.S. graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher in agriculture related fields, 22,500 short of the jobs available annually. “There is incredible opportunity for highly-skilled jobs in agriculture,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Those receiving degrees in agricultural fields can expect to have ample career opportunities. Not only will those who study agriculture be likely to get well-paying jobs upon graduation, they will also have the satisfaction of working in a field that addresses some of the world’s most pressing challenges. These jobs will only become more […]

Read More
USDA Logo

May 6, 2015

USDA Awards $10 Million In Grants To Universities To Ad…

More than $10 million has been awarded to U.S. universities to address critical water problems, such as water quality and availability, in rural and agricultural watersheds across the country. The awards were made through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Water for Agriculture challenge area and the National Integrated Water Quality Program (NIWQP). “Water is our most precious resource, one that is essential for both human survival and well-being and for our ability to grow our crops and livestock,” says Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. “By funding research, Extension and education for citizens and the agriculture community, we are able to proactively create solutions to water-related issues like drought and its impact on food security.” The AFRI Water for Agriculture challenge area was first introduced in fiscal year (FY) 2014, and these grants represent the first year of funding for the program. Funded […]

Read More
fngla

May 6, 2015

Florida Nursery, Growers And Landscape Association Name…

Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA) has awarded a group of individuals through its FNGLA Industry Awards Program for their contributions to the industry. This year’s winners will be honored during FNGLA’s Annual Convention in Coral Gables on June 13, as part of FNGLA’s Annual Meeting. FNGLA’s Industry Awards Program acknowledges both FNGLA and industry service, with varying criteria geared for each award. Nominations are accepted from the industry-at-large and winners are selected by a committee of industry peers. The Wendell Butler Award and the FNGLA Hall of Fame are recognized as the most prestigious awards given by FNGLA. The Wendell Butler Award is presented for service to FNGLA and the FNGLA Hall of Fame Award is a lifetime achievement award. Nominations are accepted from the industry at large. FNGLA Hall of Fame Inductee: Hugh Gramling, Tampa Bay Wholesale Growers (Plant City, Fla.), retired Wendell E. Butler Award: Theresa & Kevin Riley, […]

Read More
water

May 6, 2015

Record Low Snowpack Continues In The West

Across the Western U.S., snowpack has melted sooner than usual, according to data from the fourth 2015 forecast by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “Almost all of the West Coast continues to have a record low snowpack,” NRCS Hydrologist David Garen says. “March was warm and dry in most of the West; as a result, snow is melting earlier than usual.” Historically, April 1 is the peak snowpack. This year, the peak came earlier. There was little snow accumulation in March, and much of the existing snow has already melted. “The only holdouts are higher elevations in the Rockies,” Garen says. “Look at the map and you’ll see that almost everywhere else is red.” Red indicates less than half of the normal snowpack remains. A consequence of the early snowmelt is that Western states will have reduced streamflow later this spring and summer. In Western states where snowmelt […]

Read More
RedPeppers_RosanaPrada_Flickr

April 29, 2015

Nature Fresh Farms To Build 175-Acre Greenhouse Facilit…

Growing fresh vegetables in the Midwest is about to take a major turn in a new direction as Nature Fresh Farms has announced a large-scale investment in northwest Ohio. The company broke ground on April 10 to begin construction on a 175-acre greenhouse facility in Delta, Ohio. “This is an exciting time for Nature Fresh Farms as we expand our operations to include a U.S. growing facility,” said Nature Fresh Farms President Peter Quiring in a press release. “This development will allow us to better serve our Ohio customers with locally grown produce, year-round and continue to grow our U.S. operations.” Contingent upon acceptable levels of incentives from the State of Ohio and other government authorities, as well as utility rates agreeable to Nature Fresh, the company would be poised to ship its first case of vegetables in December 2015. The greenhouse project will be completed in several phases over the […]

Read More
RISE logo

April 29, 2015

RISE Delivers Petition Urging President Obama To Protec…

Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE) delivered a pollinator petition to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, urging President Obama to create more habitat and forage areas for pollinators, and to consider all sources of information on, and contributors to the pollinator health issue. Nearly 600 citizens from across the U.S. signed the petition. “Our petition shows President Obama that citizens want a balanced and substantive conversation to happen on the pollinator health issue,” says Aaron Hobbs, RISE president. “The pollinator issue is very complex and research points to multiple factors affecting pollinators, including pests and parasites, microbial diseases, nutrition problems, bee management practices and climate change.” According to Hobbs, the petition highlights some of the steps the industry is taking to support pollinators. This includes creating pollinator-friendly habitats and forage areas through integrated vegetation management in utility rights-of-way and large tracts of land. “We do applaud the White House for including in […]

Read More