Every Greenhouse Challenge Has Its Upside

Janeen Wright
Janeen Wright

I’ve had several opportunities to visit with growers lately, and it’s apparent that two issues top their list of concerns — labor and transportation.
Seasonal labor is hard to find, and filling positions with qualified workers is even tougher. Constantly changing labor laws aggravate the problem, and the impact of current and future immigration policy on labor is anyone’s guess. Some growers are already feeling the full force of state-mandated minimum wage increases, while the looming threat of state and potentially federal policies hang over others.

Growers agonize about labor retention, too. It’s difficult to retain workers in a largely seasonal industry. And a big question on growers’ minds is how to prevent the skilled workers they do manage to keep from being enticed away by the promise of more money and better hours. Finally, there’s recruitment — how to attract the best and brightest young minds to the greenhouse.

On the transportation end, growers are scratching their heads over how to increase availability of drivers and trucks, especially as experienced drivers reach retirement age. Changes at the U.S. Department of Transportation have taken their toll, and some of EPA’s recently implemented standards have pushed up costs. Then there’s the competition for available equipment (specialized trailers, etc.). With only so much to go around during a three-month period, growers are often scrambling for resources during their busiest and most critical time of the year.

Policies on ag funding, cannabis legalization, and healthcare concern growers, as well. Our next U.S. president and those he or she nominates to fill top-level positions will have a substantial influence on these policies.

Another thing to keep an eye on is the appearance of Q-biotype whiteflies in the landscape in Florida and California. This doesn’t bode well for greenhouse growers if these pests continue to spread across the U.S. Luckily, a National Whitefly Taskforce is working on researching the issue and what can be done to stop the spread of this devastating pest, but the taskforce will require grower support to continue its important work.

 

There Is A Bright Side

While challenges like labor, transportation, and pest control keep growers turning in their beds, there is a silver lining. An old proverb says the things that hurt us most today make us stronger tomorrow. Case in point, the lack of labor is driving innovation, which has led to the fine-tuning and creation of better automation equipment to help fill labor gaps. Growers who have successfully implemented lean flow at their operations say they have increased productivity with the same amount of people. The bans on neonicotinoids, while inconvenient, have led to new pest control solutions.

The path of least resistance isn’t the path to growth. That’s good news because it means the tempest of change our industry is currently navigating through is the catalyst launching it into a better future.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

More From Management...
AFE-Flower-Marketing-Videos

April 20, 2018

Your Weekly Chance to Market the Positive Vibes That Flowers Bring

Each week between now and the end of the year, American Floral Endowment will post a new video promoting flowers.

Read More
Dual Income No Kids (DINK) Young Couple

April 10, 2018

Make Plans to Attend the NICH Annual Conference in Atlanta in June

Everyone in every aspect of consumer horticulture is invited to attend and help create a unified, strategic plan around industry-wide priorities.

Read More
2016 Massachusetts Horticultural Society Field Trials

March 31, 2018

Save the Date for the 2018 Northeast Greenhouse Conference

This year’s conference takes place Nov. 7-8, 2018, and offers growers a great opportunity to learn, share, and connect with other industry professionals.

Read More
Latest Stories
AFE-Flower-Marketing-Videos

April 20, 2018

Your Weekly Chance to Market the Positive Vibes That Fl…

Each week between now and the end of the year, American Floral Endowment will post a new video promoting flowers.

Read More
Dual Income No Kids (DINK) Young Couple

April 10, 2018

Make Plans to Attend the NICH Annual Conference in Atla…

Everyone in every aspect of consumer horticulture is invited to attend and help create a unified, strategic plan around industry-wide priorities.

Read More
2016 Massachusetts Horticultural Society Field Trials

March 31, 2018

Save the Date for the 2018 Northeast Greenhouse Confere…

This year’s conference takes place Nov. 7-8, 2018, and offers growers a great opportunity to learn, share, and connect with other industry professionals.

Read More
NatureFresh-Farms-Leamington-Expansion

March 27, 2018

NatureFresh Further Expands Greenhouse Tomato Productio…

Construction of a new, 32-acre greenhouse facility will commence in the summer of 2018, with production scheduled to begin in 2019.

Read More
Dickman-Farms-Carve-and-Brew-Event

March 26, 2018

How Dickman Farms Used a New Event to Expand Its Custom…

Last fall, Dickman Farms hosted “Carve & Brew,” a new event in which young adults were able to carve a pumpkin, taste craft brews from two local microbreweries, and relax with friends and neighbors.

Read More
Bell Nursery Panorama Photo

March 23, 2018

Bell Nursery’s Gary Mangum Provides Insight on De…

In light of the March 14 announcement that Bell Nursery Holdings LLC had been acquired by Central Garden & Pet, Greenhouse Grower caught up with Bell Nursery CEO Gary Mangum to get the backstory on the deal. Here is our full interview with Mangum.

Read More
Mason-Day-GrowIt-Feature

March 22, 2018

Why Your Efforts to Sell Plants Fall Short and What You…

It’s time to look at outside industries for ideas and inspiration on what we can do to operate more efficiently in today’s economy.

Read More
Seed-Your-Future-Dinner

March 20, 2018

Seed Your Future Dinner Celebrates Focus on New, Young …

During a Seed Your Future Leadership Meeting Fundraiser dinner at Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania's Ag Secretary thanked the Seed Your Future initiative for its efforts to create awareness of horticulture and careers in horticulture.

Read More
Banker-Plants-at-Thiels

March 19, 2018

Bug Your Customer About Biocontrols

Getting customers educated about your biocontrol use and using it to build your brand is all about telling your story in way that attracts attention.

Read More
John Sorenson

March 15, 2018

Vestaron CEO John Sorenson Dies at Age 68

Sorenson, a long-time crop protection specialist in the horticulture industry, was a key figure in Vestaron’s launch of new and innovative biological products.

Read More
Roger-Kehoe-Eason

March 12, 2018

Eason Horticultural Resources Adds to its National Sale…

Roger Kehoe joins the company as a Sales and Production Management Expert. He was most recently the Director of Young Plant Production at the Color Division of Costa Farms.

Read More

March 11, 2018

National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture Releases …

A new series of four #PlantsDoThat Inside infographics focuses on the multitude of ways indoor plants affect where we live, where we work, where we heal, and where we learn. The first two infographics are now available.

Read More
Penn State University campus

March 9, 2018

Check Out the Top 40 Ag Colleges in the World

The most recent World University Ranking by Subject report includes a breakdown of the top agricultural colleges. Find out if your alma mater made the list!

Read More
GCA-Summer-Tour-McAuliffes

March 9, 2018

GCA Announces Complete Seattle Garden Center Summer Tou…

The Garden Centers of America Summer Tour in Seattle will feature visits to some of the most unique plant retailers in the Pacific Northwest.

Read More

March 8, 2018

Southern Nursery Association to Award $18,000 in Schola…

The deadline for application is May 27, and 12 scholarships are expected to be awarded.

Read More
Stephanie-Jensen-BASF

March 7, 2018

BASF Names New Director of Its Specialty Crops Business

Stephanie Jensen will focus on new and innovative solutions for growers in the pest control, turf, and ornamentals markets.

Read More
SNA-2019-Conference-Logo

March 6, 2018

SNA Conference Will Once Again Co-Locate with MANTS in …

Participants of the 2018 SNA Conference were positive about the location, the meeting space, and the added convenience of the conference being held two days before the opening of MANTS.

Read More

March 5, 2018

Webinar on March 15 Addresses Impact of Trucking Regula…

AmericanHort is hosting a free webinar on Thursday, March 15, concerning the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate for trucking and its impact on the horticulture industry.

Read More