May 16, 2016
Greenhouse Grower’s Top 100 Growers Talk Technology, Automation, Sustainability, And Marketing
The Top 100 Growers are already by nature some of the most technologically advanced greenhouse operations, due to their sheer size and need for efficiency. Many of the largest growers also serve big box merchandisers and home improvement chains, where prices are dictated, so producing plants at the lowest possible cost is essential to growers not only staying in business, but also profiting and expanding their operations. This year’s survey focused on the automation and technology the Top 100 Growers are investing in, and how these advancements have improved their operations, as well as how they have affected growers’ labor issues. We also asked growers about how they’re solving labor issues, where they’re recruiting new hires, and how they’re keeping their people committed. Lean management programs and sustainability certifications have become higher priorities in the past several years, due to growers’ needs to run efficiently and focus attention on sustainable […]
May 16, 2017
The Top 100 Growers are Investing in More Technology to Offset Labor Shortages
Labor has traditionally been among growers’ most significant costs, but the continued rising costs and lack of available labor are currently two very heavy burdens that growers have to bear. As the labor supply dwindles, the Top 100 Growers discuss their next steps toward investing in technology to streamline efficiency at their respective operations.
May 16, 2017
The Top 100 Growers Speak Out on Changes Needed in Immigration Reform
Opinions about the new administration’s approach to immigration reform vary widely among Greenhouse Grower‘s Top 100 Growers. Many say they are “very concerned” about the potential impact on agriculture’s guestworker programs. Others say the entire guestworker program needs to be overhauled to be simpler and easier to use for growers, and hope that this will be part of the reform efforts. And some seem to be generally in favor of the current methods. “I am in favor of securing the borders but want a simple system for legal residency.” — Dale Buist, Countryside Greenhouse and Farm Market “All this talk has made huge waves in the migrant labor workforce. Continuing this path will create an even greater shortage of employees willing to do our type of work.” — Mark Worley, Speedling, Inc. “[Trump] is only enforcing and not reforming. We will lose a lot of our best employees if this […]
May 8, 2015
The Top 100 Growers Tackle Crop Protection Challenges
We asked the Top 100 Growers how they have changed their production practices to address consumer concerns about pollinator health, as well as how integrated pest management and the use of biocontrols have changed their operations.
May 8, 2015
2015 Greenhouse Grower Top 100 Growers: Reading The Rankings
For the second straight year, Greenhouse Grower’s Top 100 Growers survey shows the largest growers are rapidly expanding.
May 13, 2014
The Top 100 Growers Find Diversity Provides More Security
Growers continue to broaden their crop offerings, provide more retail merchandising and market their own crops through social media, in an effort to increase sales.
May 6, 2013
Top 100 Growers 2013: The State Of Production
As part of Greenhouse Grower’s 30th Anniversary, we reviewed the state of production among the nation’s largest operations. Our 2013 Top 100 Growers Survey, sponsored by Becker Underwood, asked three big questions to get a feel for where they see the biggest developments in greenhouse production. Innovations First, we asked them to identify the most important innovation in the greenhouse industry in the last 30 years. We got a variety of opinions, including integrated pest management, bottom heat and heat curtains, open roof greenhouses, plugs and other growing techniques and computer-based environmental controls. Most commonly cited were breeding improvements, hydroponic production and the big winner, automation and transplanters. “It’s not even close,” one respondent said. “Transplanters are the best innovation we’ve seen. To plant at the speed we do now, we would have to put 30 people on each production line.” Improvements Next, we asked them to tell us […]
May 6, 2013
Greenhouse Grower Top 100 Growers: The 2013 List
It’s not necessarily an indication of a top-to-bottom trend in the horticulture industry, but one thing is clear from the results of the 2013 Greenhouse Grower Top 100 Grower survey: The largest greenhouse operations in the U.S are getting larger. Perhaps it’s a sign of things turning around after several years of a stagnant economy and an evolving customer base. Maybe the greenhouse industry is just continuing a shakeout, with the largest operations absorbing the production and space of growers who are leaving the market. Could be it’s simply the big continuing to get bigger to take advantage of the production efficiencies size can offer big retail customers and the growers’ own bottom lines. It’s likely some combination of all three. Whatever the reason, nearly a third of the growers in Greenhouse Grower’s 2013 Top 100 survey reported growth. Some of them significantly so. Ups And Downs Greenhouse Grower’s annual […]
May 4, 2012
Delray Plants Says Marketing Is Now A Must
The Top 100 Growers were production-driven businesses just a few years ago. Many grew seemingly endless products and had the good fortune of finding buyers even in a pinch. Discounting was an option to keep product moving, and margins were favorable. Fast forward to todayâ€™s Top 100, and itâ€™s a sales-driven group that talks largely about tighter margins and the need to have the right product on the right shelves at the right time. The truth is todayâ€™s industry is vastly different than the one many of the Top 100 originally experienced. And the strongest growers are the ones adapting their operations and tailoring products to the retailerâ€™s needs. â€œYou just canâ€™t overproduce something today,â€� says Randy Gilde, an owner at Delray Plants. â€œYou can move some of it, but generally if your product isnâ€™t positioned at the right time and place for the store and its customers, you canâ€™t […]
April 29, 2011
Top 100 Growers: Growers Sound Off On Contract Growing
Contract growing isnâ€™t for everyone, but the majority of the Top 100 Growers are involved in one capacity or another. Many are the principal growers of Walmart, Home Depot and Loweâ€™s who contract others to produce particular crops for their big box customers. Others are the growers taking orders from those principal growers, filling up their greenhouses when they can with 100,000 pansy flats here and 75,000 color bowls there. But regardless of whether a Top 100 Grower is involved in contract growing or not, the majority of the Top 100 (67 percent) believe contract growing is a healthy way to do business. The benefits contract growers reap are numerous, after all. â€œWe have better space utilization, weâ€™re able to maintain labor and spread overhead costs,â€� says George Lucas, the owner of Lucas Greenhouses in Monroeville, N.J. Adds Speedling CEO Greg Davis: â€œContract growing allows us to leverage a larger […]
April 20, 2010
Bracing For Big Changes
The greenhouse floriculture industry, at this moment, is in a state of great change. Sustainability is becoming second nature, growers are taking on responsibilities that were once considered the retailer’s, and production, in many cases, is becoming more diverse with the introduction of crops that match the needs of a changing consumer base. Changes are occurring on Capitol Hill, as well, and those changes have tremendous implications for the Top 100 Growers. That’s why Greenhouse Grower puts the spotlight this year on national issuesâ€“health care, immigration and energyâ€“in the 23rd annual Top 100 Growers Report. “All three of these issuesâ€“health care, immigration and energyâ€“are very, very complex,” says Bob Dolibois, executive vice president of the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA). “There are so many elements with the issues that interact, and it’s very difficult to achieve real change in terms of laws. Still, in all three instances, there is […]