Michigan Growers Unite

Michigan Growers Unite

On a warm evening on October 19th, 2004, a group of Michigan greenhouse growers met at the Kellogg Center on the campus of Michigan State University (MSU). The meeting was jointly hosted by the Western Michigan Greenhouse Association and the Metro Detroit Flower Growers Association, then under the leadership of Steve Zylstra and Tony Raney, respectively. The meeting was facilitated by Gale Arent, who was the director of stakeholder relations for MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of forming a statewide organization with the responsibility of representing the floriculture grower community on state and national legislative issues and public policy topics. I was privileged to be a member of the group that evening, and the rest is history, so to speak.

The group clearly recognized the need for representation in legislative matters. Zylstra and Raney reported that their organizations were repeatedly drawn into legal issues that they had no resources to deal with. The painful experience of the Ralstonia incident was fresh in everyone’s minds. On a trip to Washington, D.C., Zylstra and Raney were continuously asked, “Who from your organization can we contact back in Michigan?” The answer was nobody. From such beginnings, the idea for the Michigan Floriculture Growers Council (MFGC) was born, and operations officially began in January 2006. Arent became the first executive director and continues in that role.

Approaching the end of its second year in operation, the MFGC has very quickly established itself as a credible voice for greenhouse growers in the state capital of Lansing. Much of the credit for our success goes to Arent, who possesses an impressive combination of floriculture industry knowledge and government savvy that he applies in a very effective, personable manner. Through his efforts, MFGC is known to all the key senators and representatives in the Michigan legislature, as well as to Michigan’s Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C. We have joined forces with the Society of American Florists (SAF), the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA), Michigan Farm Bureau and other agricultural organizations on issues of mutual concern and presented our position to key legislators.

We’ve advocated for research funding for MSU horticulture projects. We’ve presented Michigan floriculture as a thriving, growing industry in a state with one of the worst unemployment rates in the country. When another situation like Ralstonia occurs, we can mobilize very quickly to represent the needs of the floriculture community in the state and at the national level, if needed.

The members of the board recognize the role of government in our businesses is not going to get less important with time; having a strong voice for grower interests is essential in today’s business environment. We’re actively involved in issues such as energy conservation, renewable energy, gas drilling, immigration reform, water rights, taxation and regulation of pests, diseases and invasive plants. We’re presenting a case for grower reimbursement for government-mandated plant destruction or quarantine (similar to a program that reimburses farmers for mandated destruction of diseased animals) in the next Farm Bill. We’re supporting and asking for legislation that provides incentive to invest in energy conservation measures and renewable energy technology for our greenhouses.

Working with MSU, we obtained a grant from USDA to identify strategies to reduce greenhouse energy costs and coordinated a series of seminars across the state to provide this information to growers. We are now present at agricultural gatherings throughout the legislative year to promote awareness of the significant size and scope of floriculture in Michigan.

The Michigan Floriculture Growers Council has been supported generously by a sizeable list of founding members, and we continue to add new members. We’ve recently begun our 2008 Membership Campaign and encourage all Michigan growers to join MFGC to add their voices to those of their fellow growers. For more information on the MFGC, please visit www.mifgc.org.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Michigan Growers Unite

Latest Stories
America In Bloom Project

August 29, 2016

Your Chance To Help America In Bloom As It Celebrates I…

America In Bloom is launching a fundraising campaign to help the group continue its mission of creating beautiful and vibrant communities across the country.

Read More

August 29, 2016

Does Point-Of-Sale (POS) Make A Difference for Plant Re…

When Greenhouse Grower RETAILING asked plant retailers about their plant pricing techniques, we also asked if they use POS or not. We decided to take a close look at where these two groups differ:

Read More
Griffin Logo

August 29, 2016

What You Should Do At The Griffin Expos, Massachusetts …

The first of the fall Griffin Expos takes place this week in West Springfield, MA, August 31 and September 1, 2016. A Lancaster, PA, Expo will take place next month. If you’re heading to this distributor show, make sure you check out these highlights: White Elephant Sale Each year, Griffin clears out its branch warehouses by holding a sale of its closeout and overstock items. The discounts are deep, and the competition for the items are fierce. “Once items are gone, they’re gone. So, that first hour or so is kind of like ‘the running of the brides’ at Filene’s,” says Tracey Gorrell, Marketing Communications Lead at Griffin. On-Site Experts Griffin offers opportunities to connect face-to-face with industry experts and get answers, tips, and advice catered to your unique needs and interests: The GGSPro team is available to field your questions; and 150 manufacturers, breeders, and young-plant producers can discuss […]

Read More

August 29, 2016

Fire Damages Swanson Nursery

Fire crews were called to Seattle-based Swanson’s Nursery in the middle of the night on August 22, the Ballard News Tribune reported. The fire, likely started by an “electrical issue,” destroyed bathrooms and a seminar room, Retail Manager Eric Nordstrom told the news outlet. Smoke damage was more extensive, however. Swanson’s President, Brian Damron says the fire also reached a storage area and utility room. A fire department spokesman says the fire broke through the greenhouse walls, and that part of a wooden wall had to be removed so the crew could reach the flames. The store’s café resides next to the damaged area, and is temporarily closed. It’s an important part of Swanson’s off season revenue strategy. The store is working with a timeline of repairs with its insurance company so it can determine when the cafe can reopen, the news outlet reports. The fire was out relatively quickly once […]

Read More
North Creek Nurseries Feature Image

August 29, 2016

North Creek Nurseries Unites Horticulture With Sustaina…

The team at North Creek Nurseries, Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Operation Of The Year, leads the way in implementing ecologically responsible practices that will sustain the future of growing.

Read More

August 28, 2016

BioWorks IPM/Sustainable Practices Scholarship Goes To …

Schaller, a senior at the University of Arizona in the Plant Sciences Department, is interested in ornamental and floriculture crop breeding and crop physiology.

Read More
Next Generation

August 27, 2016

Australia Launches Initiative To Ignite A New Generatio…

Hort Innovation Chief Executive John Lloyd says the goal is to identify and build future industry leaders at all stages of their career through investment in a host of new initiatives.

Read More
Penn State University Trial Day

August 26, 2016

How Greenhouse Growers Can Broaden Their Horizons

Allan Armitage says you can learn new ideas to help your business when you get out to visit plant trials and other growers.

Read More
Albert Grimm, Jefferys Greenhouses

August 25, 2016

7 Ways Albert Grimm Strives To Be An Effective Leader

Grimm, Greenhouse Grower's 2016 Head Grower Of The Year, tries to live by the "Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People” from author Stephen R. Covey.

Read More
Tidal Creek Growers

August 25, 2016

Maryland-Based SunMed Growers Nabs Cannabis License

The company was one of 15 licensees selected by the commission out of a pool of 145 grower applicants to receive one of the license pre-approvals.

Read More
GrowSpan Light Deprivation Greenhouse

August 25, 2016

New Light Deprivation Greenhouses Help With Light Manag…

The GrowSpan light deprivation greenhouse from Growers Supply is outfitted with a blackout system that provides growers with control over the light cycle.

Read More
Albert Grimm GOY feature

August 25, 2016

Up Close And Personal With Head Grower Of The Year Albe…

According to Grimm, Greenhouse Grower’s 2016 Head Grower Of The Year, the key to being a successful grower is educating and inspiring yourself, your staff, your customers, and the next generation of growers.

Read More
To offer consumers an attractive crop, Local Appetite uses high tunnels to grow cherry tomatoes

August 24, 2016

New Food Safety Compliance Resource Available For Green…

The FSMA Wizard from Registrar Corp makes it easy for food producers, including greenhouse vegetable growers, to determine their possible requirements under the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Read More
Cannabis Structure

August 23, 2016

5 Factors To Consider In Your Cannabis Structure

Along with the size and specs of your greenhouse, it's also important to focus on ventilation, light deprivation, benching, irrigation, and odor control.

Read More
Penn State Plant Bud

August 23, 2016

AmericanHort Is Helping Plant Importers Adjust To New R…

A report from Craig Regelbrugge at AmericanHort says the government is implementing a streamlined system for imports, in which all required data will be submitted electronically through a single window.

Read More

August 23, 2016

Kick Spring Sales Up A Notch With 18 New Plant Introduc…

It’s time to look forward to the spring season and what plants will get your business off to the right start. These 18 new cultivars have all the traits of good breeding — uniform habits, bold colors, showy blooms, good vigor, and excellent branching.

Read More
Bees And Pesticides

August 23, 2016

Studies Offer Conflicting Views On Neonic Effect On Bee…

How much exposure to neonicotinoids do bees need before their health becomes affected? That’s the question two research teams look to answer.

Read More

August 23, 2016

Gardens Alive! Parent Company Buys Zelenka Farms

  Zelenka Farms, which has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, says LM Farms, which owns Gardens Alive!, has purchased the company and all of its assets. BFN Operations LLC and its affiliated entities, d/b/a Zelenka Farms, operated one of the largest wholesale nurseries in the U.S. Its products include shrubs, trees, perennials, roses, and groundcovers. The owners of Gardens Alive! have successfully purchased several other companies from bankruptcy and are experienced nursery managers. Niles Kinerk, Chairman of LM Farms, stated that “the opportunity to purchase Zelenka Farms assets and to continue the turnaround that is well underway is exactly the kind of opportunity that we look for. We understand the efforts of the management team led by Eric Ek and others have been successful, and we will support the management team in the coming months and years.” Zelenka Farms operates its six facilities across the key growing regions in the […]

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