Declaring Independence

Declaring Independence

Benary’s Managing Director Matthias Redlefsen shocked the varieties world during our Medal of Excellence awards presentations in July when he made a bold stand for independent breeding companies in his onstage remarks:

“If you look at how many businesses have lost their independence in the last two years, we’ve lost more businesses than in the last 25 years. I’m not blaming the ones who bought these companies, because they paid a lot of money for that. And I’m not blaming the guys who sold their businesses because they got a lot of money for that. I just think this is sad for us as an industry because I truly believe that great innovation comes from a free spirit and a free set of mind and we have to be very, very cautious of this.” (Click on the image to hear the whole speech.)

His statements gave everyone in the ballroom a moment to pause and reflect. We asked others with independent positions in the global supply chain how they view the latest consolidation trends.

Remain Independent

In our Top 10 Cuttings Producers survey, Fides B.V. says its strategy is to remain independent. When asked how the company views global consolidation of breeding and distribution channels, Fides says, “On a product basis, three to five breeders will continue the breeding. Further, we see a consolidation of the number of growers declining 5-10 percent per year but no decline in hectares.” To compete, Fides is continuously improving its assortment through breeding and investing in information technology for Web-based ordering and electronic data interchange.

Serve The Growers

Dömmen also plans to remain independent and feels the future belongs to those who best serve the growers. “As an independent company, we really depend on the grower. The grower has to ask the sales organizations to sell our products. We don’t have a dedicated sales force,” explains Dömmen’s Managing Director Perry Wismans. “We have to make sure we have the best genetics out there so the growers want to grow it and sellers want to sell it. It has always been our philosophy anyway, but it’s even more important now. We have to act in the interest of the growers.”

One prime example is the innovative multi-cutting Confetti Garden liners Dömmen pioneered. “We asked the growers, ‘What’s your struggle? How can we make your life easier?'” Wismans says “They said it’s hard for us to make nice mixed baskets when we order the plants from different producers and shipments are delayed or substituted. We developed this after listening to the growers and determining what their needs are.”

Keep A Positive Outlook

Paul Gaydos of GroLink Plant Co., which has production facilities in California and Brazil, views industry consolidation positively. “I think it is a good thing,” he says. “It forces small companies to find a niche and available opportunities in this changing environment. It is important for us to stay neutral and continue to work with these companies. One company cannot supply everything to everyone and do it well.”

Keeping A Cap On Varieties

Steve Rinehart, COO of Paul Ecke Ranch, also sees benefits in industry consolidation. “Global consolidation helps to restrict the large amount of new varieties hitting the market,” he says. “Truly there are more varieties of product than the market can bear. Consolidation helps to promote product leaps and true innovation by rewarding large volumes to innovative products. Global consolidation has driven Ecke to be highlighted as the last true North American breeding company.”

Possible Opportunities

Troy Lucht of Plant Source International (PSI) is in a unique position wearing three hats as a cuttings provider and a grower-retailer at Malmborg’s in Minnesota. “Breeder independence is something each breeder must decide for themselves,” he says. “That answer really depends on the products, size of company, breadth of product, production levels and market recognition.”

How can an independent cuttings provider like PSI compete against the larger companies? “Consolidation is a fact that we must deal with and how we respond is to figure out where the opportunities lie for us and where we need to scrutinize programs we are currently doing to optimize our production and our validity with customers,” he explains. “Is it tough to compete with the big conglomerates? Yes, but again, where are the openings? For PSI, we take orders as late as the Friday before the ship week, where the larger companies have to set cutoffs on Monday or Tuesday. This gives us an opportunity for last-minute orders.”

Leave a Reply

More From Plant Culture...
Smith Gardens Marysville outdoor field production

November 30, 2015

Why Smith Gardens’ Marysville, WA, Facility Is A Great Place To Work

Labor rates in Washington State are some of the highest in the nation, making competition for labor fierce. This is why Smith Gardens in Marysville, WA, wants to strengthen its reputation as a great place to work.

Read More
Feature - Agave ‘Blue Waves’ (Rancho Tissue Technologies)

November 30, 2015

Spice Up The Garden With 12 New Succulent And Miniature Plant Varieties

New succulents and miniature plants for 2016 offer a variety of colors and foliage textures that add interest and visual appeal to any size garden — indoors or out.

Read More
Iridescent green sweat bee

November 30, 2015

Nine Native Bees You Should Know About

There are at least 17,000 other species of bees globally, and 4,000 native bee species in North America. Although honeybees get all the attention, native bees can be efficient and sometimes superior pollinators compared to honeybees. Here's a quick run down on what you should know about native pollinators.

Read More
Latest Stories

September 20, 2015

Technology Improves Orchid Production At Green Circle G…

Green Circle Growers in Oberlin, Ohio, has a commitment to using production practices that are efficient and sustainable. The operation has been growing Orchids for nine years, and is entering its second full year with its current system, which entails three camera grades. “The camera grading — first at production into a 5-inch pot, then 12 weeks later and a final grade after the stem and buds have developed — is raising our overall quality,” says Wesley Van Wingerden, director of growing for Green Circle Growers. Greenhouse Grower visited the operation to take a tour of its facilities and learn more about its Orchid production. Read on for more details about the process. The first of the camera grades is incorporated into the transplant process, which involves placing the Orchids from a community tray into 5-inch pots. The plants are separated into three sizes with the smallest returning to the […]

Read More

September 15, 2015

Young Plant Growers Weigh In On Crop Gains, Sales Trend…

Almost 100 young plant producers participated in Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 Young Plant Grower Survey, which asked growers questions abot crop categories, sales, order fulfillment and more.

Read More
Top20YPGrowers feature image

September 15, 2015

The State Of The 2015 Young Plant Market

Young plant growers in North America are changing their strategies to stay competitive in today’s market. Here is how 2015 shapes up in trends and statistics.

Read More
Vivero International_Endisch

September 8, 2015

Vivero Internacional Continues To Expand Unrooted Cutti…

The tenth largest cuttings farm in the world, Vivero Internacional was founded in 1991 and began exporting unrooted cuttings in 1993. Based in Tepoztlan, Morelos, just outside of Mexico City, Mexico, the operation opened with 2 hectares or 5 acres. With time and new customers, the farm has experienced rapid growth, now spanning 40 hectares or 99 acres, says Vivero’s Dennis Hitzigrath. “The first 10 years, production was doubling every season,” Hitzigrath says. “In the last three years, it’s been about 20 percent.”     The independent operation grows 100 million cuttings annually for several breeders, serving the North American market. Hitzigrath says consolidation among breeders has brought more of a focus on Vivero Internacional from third-party breeders in recent years. This growing interest is spurring even more growth. “We are planning for a minimum growth of 20 percent,” Hitzigrath says. “We are adding more production space and hope to be […]

Read More

August 19, 2015

Greenhouse Growing Recommendations For Lobularia

Modern-day Lobularias are garden classics with good vigor and long bloom times. These growing recommendations will help keep your crop in prime condition.

Read More
Mike McGroarty, owner of Mike’s Backyard Nursery

July 29, 2015

Backyard Success: Mike McGroarty Educates Aspiring Grow…

Mike’s Backyard Nursery sits on a long, narrow, 5-acre property located in Perry, Ohio. There, customers can find a variety of flowering shrubs available, all in 2-quart pots, and all for sale for $5.97 each. Owner Mike McGroarty, a lifelong resident of Perry, says the town has a lot of plant nurseries, including 100 wholesale growers within a 10-mile radius of his house. That doesn’t discourage McGroarty, because he knows that while there are a lot of nurseries in his area, no one else is doing what he is doing. McGroarty has learned about plants — and marketing them to his audience — through decades of experience. He has never hesitated to pass along his knowledge to other growers looking to start their own backyard operations, and has created an entire program to educate aspiring growers. McGroarty Likes To Practice What He Preaches McGroarty’s operation serves as the laboratory for […]

Read More
cannabis, marijuana plant

June 27, 2015

Concern Grows Over Unregulated Pesticide Use On Cannabi…

As most growers know well, the federal government regulates all insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and other commercial chemicals used on agricultural crops. Therein lies the problem with use of chemicals on cannabis crops – so far, the feds want nothing to do with legalized marijuana. According to “Concern Grows Over Unregulated Pesticide Use On Cannabis,” a June 17 article on the National Public Radio (NPR) network by Agribusiness Reporter Luke Runyon, the lack of regulated chemicals for cannabis has left growers to experiment on their own. “In the absence of any direction the subject of pesticide use on the crop has just devolved to whatever people think is working or they think is appropriate,” said Colorado State University Entomologist Whitney Cranshaw in the NPR report. “Sometimes they’ve used some things that are appropriate, sometimes unsafe.” Denver officials held tens of thousands of marijuana plants earlier this year due to safety concerns, but […]

Read More

June 16, 2015

The Butterfly Effect: Insect’s Wings Key To Azalea Poll…

A researcher from North Carolina State University (NC State) has found that in the case of the flame azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum), all pollinators are not created equal. In fact, due to the flower’s unique reproductive structure, butterflies — and specifically, their wings — are the key to pollination. The flame azalea is commonly found in the Appalachian Mountains, ranging from as far north as New York to Georgia in the south. Like most azaleas, the flowers are large, and have an unusual structure: both the anther (male) and stigma (female) parts are very elongated and separated from one another. NC State biologist Mary Jane Epps was interested in how the azalea’s flower structure affected its pollination. “In order for a plant to reproduce, a pollinator — usually an insect — has to spread the pollen from the anther to the stigma,” Epps says. “In the case of the flame azalea, […]

Read More
Bee on a Sedum

March 17, 2015

4 Key Pollinator Research Projects To Be Funded By Hort…

The Horticultural Research Institute will grant $125,000 in financial support for four key projects as part of the Horticultural Industry Bee & Pollinator Stewardship Initiative. The Initiative has three primary goals. First, to convene a task force to develop a bee and pollinator stewardship program, including creation of best management practices for plant production. Second, to identify and fund research that will help answer key science questions and fill gaps needed to design and refine the stewardship program. Third, to seek to positively position the horticultural community and its customers by collaborating with other compatible groups interested in augmenting pollinator habitat and protection.

Read More

March 11, 2015

Pollinator Initiative Promotes Bee-Friendly Talking Poi…

AmericanHort and the Society of American Florists are working tirelessly with the ornamental industry's Pollinator Stewardship Initiative on a number of new projects.

Read More

February 11, 2015

Infusion Technology Boosts Seed Performance, Study Sugg…

Seven-year-old wheat seed germination can increase by as much as 83 percent, according to a Vital Force Technology Study that looks at the effects of energy infusion technology on plant vitality.

Read More

February 3, 2015

American Floral Endowment Accepting Research Pre-Propos…

If you are pursuing a floriculture research project, now is the time to apply for funding through the American Floral Endowment. Research pre-proposal applications for 2015-2016 funding are due to AFE by June 1, 2015.

Read More

January 27, 2015

Marijuana’s Trajectory And Ascent To Horticultural Cr…

Marijuana growing is poised for change as growers and researchers focus on improving production practices.

Read More

December 9, 2014

Greenhouse Production: Two Years Of Basics & Beyond…

Greenhouse Grower's Basics & Beyond articles cover some of the latest news and research going on in greenhouse production. Here are article links for the last two years.

Read More
GrowIt! App Wins Gold At Design100 2014 US Mobile & App Design Awards

November 24, 2014

GrowIt! App Wins Gold At Design100 2014 US Mobile &…

The social garden app GrowIt! takes the Gold Winner award at the design100 2014 Mobile & App Design Awards.

Read More

November 10, 2014

The Perennial Farm Joins HGTV HOME Plant Collection

The Perennial Farm joins the HGTV HOME Plant Collection growers' network for 2015.

Read More

November 4, 2014

AmericanHort Publishes Revised American Standard For Nu…

AmericanHort announces the revised American Standard for Nursery Stock (ANSI Z60.1) is now available for industry use. The Standard reflects the consensus of the industry regarding how nursery stock — living plants other than annuals — should be specified and sold within the trade.

Read More

September 26, 2014

Master The Art Of Watering

Watering is elemental to healthy plants, but one of the hardest concepts for new employees to master in the greenhouse. Recommend these tips to start them off right.

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