What Obama’s Re-Election Means To Greenhouse Operations

Barack Obama

They say elections have consequences, and this year’s has especially big consequences for the greenhouse and nursery industry. Of course, President Obama won both the Electoral College and popular vote, capturing pretty much all the states that were considered up for grabs. In the U.S. Senate, Democrats had to defend twice as many seats as Republicans, and many of them were in the conservative Midwest and Plains states. But Republicans’ high hopes of gaining control of the upper chamber were dashed. Democrats are expected to have a net gain of two seats, presuming that independent candidate Angus King of Maine caucuses with the majority. Republicans held the House. They lost about seven seats but maintain a comfortable margin of control.

Despite a record $6 billion spent on political advertising, little has changed. Americans seem inclined by instinct toward divided government, and that’s the reality for at least the next few years. Successful legislative proposals will have to be bipartisan to clear Congress and be signed by the President. This is especially true in the Senate, where it still takes 60 votes to overcome procedural hurdles. Accordingly, the outlook is mixed on key issues for the greenhouse and nursery industry.

Over The Fiscal Cliff Or Not?

First up for Congress is the fiscal cliff, the combination of automatic tax increases and spending cuts that will hit with the new year. Negotiations are ongoing. There are three possible outcomes:  a full agreement that avoids the cliff and brings meaningful deficit reduction; a short-term deal that may or may not bring deficit reduction; or, going over the fiscal cliff and facing the recession it is forecast to trigger.

Swirling around in the fiscal cliff debate is the prospect of tax reform. Whether in the context of corporate or individual taxes, many are calling for a reduction in rates and an elimination or reduction in exemptions and deductions. Such proposals need close monitoring. In the business context, many deductions, credits and exemptions were designed to benefit small business. So a reduction in top corporate tax rates paired with elimination of credits or exemptions could disproportionately impact small businesses. One close-to-home example:  the “cash accounting” rules frequently followed by growing operations could be targeted for elimination.

Obamacare Looms Large

For employers hoping for repeal of Obamacare, the realization is sinking in that the law is likely here to stay. Health and Human Services and other federal agencies are making steady progress on rules and guidance to implement the law. Prudent employers want to plan, but planning is tough until we know how insurance products will be priced.

The prevalence of seasonal employment in our industry is another challenging variable. Many experienced and vital horticultural workers are foreign-born and falsely documented. Presumably they will count toward an employer’s determination of total employees relating to the employer mandate to provide coverage or pay a penalty. But they will not be able to obtain insurance in the exchanges, and the mandated coverage could create a paper trail back to their employer without the privacy protections that exist with respect to Social Security information, for instance. In our industry, immigration reform is a necessary precursor for workable health care reform.

The Impact Of Immigration Issues

Immigration reform is one issue where expectations of progress are rising in the election aftermath. Why? This past election cycle was the first in which Latinos as a voting bloc may have made the difference in several statewide races, as well as the presidential contest in states like Florida, Colorado and Nevada. Mitt Romney performed terribly among Latino voters, receiving less than 30 percent of their votes. Most of this poor performance has been attributed to his hard-right turn on immigration policy during the primary, something from which he never recovered.

Most Republicans now recognize the need to evolve their messaging on immigration reform and to put the issue in the rear view mirror. Many feel that the party can appeal to Latinos on other issues. Ronald Reagan once referred to Hispanics as, “Republicans who just don’t know it yet.”  To paraphrase Senator Marco Rubio, however, it’s hard to appeal to someone on jobs or education when they think you are going to deport their grandmother. Thought leaders in the Republican Party are beginning to reframe immigration policy in economic terms, something we have long supported.

For Democrats, pressure is high to deliver on promises made. With some elements of the Democratic base now defining immigration reform as “citizenship for 11 million,” it may not be easy for party leaders to come to a reasonable middle ground.

American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) and the coalition we co-chair, known as the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform, are partners in an ongoing effort to reunify the agricultural community behind a reasonable solution for farm, nursery and greenhouse workers. Such a solution could move as part of a broader bill or as an early building block toward a modernized immigration policy. Time is of the essence, as work on the issue in Congress could begin shortly after the inauguration.

Flexibility will be the watchword. While an immigration effort next year looks likely, the path will be difficult. The so-called perfect solution from an employer perspective will not clear Congress nor be signed into law by the president. Negotiation will be tricky and take finesse, and a difficult compromise will be inevitable.

A Stronger, More Unified Industry

The nursery, greenhouse, landscape and garden retail industry has long been very fragmented. Fragmentation has hindered effective federal advocacy and strong grassroots involvement in political affairs. That’s a problem, since the business of government affects every business. The expected consolidation of OFA and ANLA and the launch of a new, premier horticultural industry association should mean positive things for the associations’ efforts to monitor and influence federal legislation and regulation. It will advance our industry’s ability to think and act together, when needed, and to speak with one voice. With challenges like health care and opportunities like immigration reform on the horizon, that’s a good thing.

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “What Obama’s Re-Election Means To Greenhouse Operations

  1. Falsely documented? Okay let's accept the new wording for illegal immigrant. I am not one but if I were how should I feel about moving from a category of' lawbreaker' to 'oops somebody made a mistake'? Well, by changing wording am I not going to be deported? By changing the words will the coyotes stop charging me bandito fees for my crossing the border? Can I just show my new 'Oops ID" and drive across the border? Can my child now go to college on Student loans with the new 'Oops ID'? Can I bring my niece and nephew into the U.S. falsely documented also? Will I be forced to pay Federal Income tax? Hey maybe I don't trust the U.S. government, can I keep my Illegal Immigrant status?

  2. Very well stated, Craig. All of these issues need to be synchronized for our industry to move forward to a long term workable solution. And Jeff, in your comment you are looking at it from the wrong side of the issue. "Falsely documented" does move the category of "lawbreaker" to "oops, someone made a mistake", but it is the employer that is moving and not the illegal immigrant. It is illegal to hire someone without proper documentation and established right to work. If I hire an illegal immigrant without documentation, I expose myself to legal liability when it is discovered, and the worker gets deported. If I hire that same person with false documentation, I am covered but the worker still gets deported. As long as our industry needs, or feels it needs, illegal immigrants to fill the jobs that we offer we can't then complain about those folks who cross the borders to take those jobs.

More From State of the Industry...

August 13, 2016

Plants Sales Are Up For Fourth Straight Year, According To Spring Crops Survey

Growers declared spring 2016 to be a success in Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 State Of The Industry: Spring Crops Recap Survey.

Read More
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
Latest Stories

August 13, 2016

Plants Sales Are Up For Fourth Straight Year, According…

Growers declared spring 2016 to be a success in Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 State Of The Industry: Spring Crops Recap Survey.

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