Resurrecting Promotion

Learning from past mistakes and encouraged by results from voluntary efforts, cut flower leaders are convinced our industry can get it right with a national research and promotion program.

Since March, the Floral Marketing Initiative Coalition has made significant progress investigating options for the floral industry to launch a viable promotion order. Ten years ago, the industry did have a national promotion order for cut flowers and cut greens called PromoFlor, which only lasted three years and was killed by a referendum. One of the many differences this time will be the promotion order will not go forward until there is a vote with at least 70 percent of those paying assessments in favor of it, although a mere 51 percent would be necessary.

The coalition’s officers addressed industry members at the OFA Short Course in Columbus, Ohio, last month, seeking input and support, as well as identifying potential hurdles and roadblocks. The officers include: Red Kennicott of Kennicott Brothers Co. in Chicago as chairman; Charles Kremp of Kremp Florist in Willow Grove, Pa., as president; and Clay Sieck of Sieck Floral Group in Baltimore as treasurer.

Representatives of USDA and Produce Marketing Association were also there to represent government oversight and mass market channels, respectively. Mass market retailers and supermarkets represent 60 percent of cut flowers sold in this country, so their support is vital for growers and importers to feel confident in their abilities to pass assessments through the distribution chain. Importers handle 80 percent of the cut flowers sold in the United States.

The goal is to raise $50 million. One of PromoFlor’s failures was assessments were not perceived as broadly based or fair. Only $12 million of the projected $25 million was ever collected. Assessments were one half of one percent of gross sales volume on about 900 qualified handlers – wholesalers and growers with at least $750,000 in annual sales. Under reporting led to low collections.

Assessments could be based on stems instead of dollars and U.S. Customs & Border Protection could collect the assessments as flowers enter the country for imports, but there would need to be more accountability in domestic collections.

The mango industry is an example where much more is imported than produced domestically. The key is to make the assessment equitable on both sides to not add a new tax or tariff on imports only.

So far, the most feasible point of collection is importers and growers. Another detail that would need to be resolved is if the vote will be one grower/one vote or based on industry volume.

The next step is for marketing professors from the famous Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania to present what the industry would look like with an effective marketing program, how much it would take, and how the industry would look if nothing is done. The results will be shared with the industry in September, most likely at the Society of American Florists’ convention. The Wharton School’s objective look at our industry should be very worthwhile.

I’m encouraged by the due diligence the coalition is doing this time around. In addition to working closely with USDA, Kremp has visited Wal-Mart’s top person in charge of perishables seeking support. The coalition knows that if the five largest supermarkets won’t support it, it’s dead in the water. Best of all, the coalition is not in a hurry. Building consensus is the priority.

Research and promotion programs are in place for 17 agricultural industries ranging from $600,000 for popcorn to $250 million for dairy. Most get $3 to $6 return for each dollar invested. I believe the cut flower industry would benefit from a fair and focused program.

Leave a Reply

Latest Stories
Tyler Beasley and Allan Armitage

May 25, 2017

Allan Armitage: Two Great Examples of Young People Movi…

In his latest column, Allan Armitage says perhaps we should, as an industry, extend our hands to our youngest members. We might be pleasantly surprised what happens.

Read More
Stepables Tough-Ten Tags

May 25, 2017

Jury Awards Damages in Stepables Photo Copyright Case, …

According to a press release from Under A Foot Plant, Co,, a jury awarded Under A Foot Plant (which owns the Stepables product line) $900,000 in actual damages for The Perennial Farm’s use of Stepables’ copyrighted photographs.

Read More

May 25, 2017

AmericanHort Hosting Advocacy Visit to Capitol Hill in …

AmericanHort has announced it will be hosting Impact Washington, an inaugural advocacy and policy summit, in Washington, DC, Sept. 12-13.

Read More

May 25, 2017

Genetically Modified Petunia Update: Breeders Take Swif…

Now that the initial shock of genetically engineered petunias is wearing off, breeders continue testing for tainted stock and look toward the future. On the consumer side, uncertainties remain.  

Read More
Bell Nursery Panorama Photo

May 24, 2017

Sustainability in the Greenhouse is More Than Just Abou…

Bell Nursery has taken several steps over the years to make our operation more sustainable from a technological standpoint. Here’s how we are doing it.

Read More
2016 Perennial Plant Of The Year Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’

May 24, 2017

What to Expect at the Perennial Plant Symposium in Denv…

The Perennial Plant Association’s annual Symposium takes place July 23-28 in Denver, CO, and features 28 educational sessions, six local tours, and a trade show.

Read More
Irrigation boom at Cavicchio Greenhouses

May 23, 2017

The Road to Sustainability at Cavicchio Greenhouses

Incremental changes to reduce its carbon footprint have paid off in greater efficiency and public recognition for this Massachusetts greenhouse grower.

Read More

May 23, 2017

USDA-APHIS Bulletin on Unauthorized Distribution of Gen…

On May 2, 2017, USDA-APHIS was informed that an orange petunia variety was potentially genetically engineered and had been imported and moved interstate without required authorization by APHIS. This led to testing of numerous petunia varieties, which confirmed this particular variety and several others are genetically engineered, and meet the regulatory definition of a regulated article under APHIS regulations. APHIS continues to work with the industry to ensure unauthorized GE petunias are not distributed in the United States.

Read More

May 23, 2017

6 Simple Ways to Acquire New Customers

Even the most successful brands need new customers if they want to grow their business, or stay profitable.

Read More
Dr. P. Allen Hammer, Dummen Orange

May 22, 2017

New Dümmen Orange Scholarship Honors Legacy of Dr. P. A…

“Our industry’s future depends on attracting and supporting bright, hard-working students into horticulture programs across North America, and the support of Dümmen Orange will aid that effort,” Hammer says.

Read More
Petunia F1 African Sunset from American Takii

May 22, 2017

Genetically Modified Petunia Update: Question and Answe…

AmericanHort’s key role interfacing with the USDA on the recall of genetically modified petunias has helped the horticulture industry rapidly address the problem. Senior Vice President Craig Regelbrugge talks about recent updates, the impact on the industry, and where it goes from here.

Read More
Tyler Beasley

May 21, 2017

Final California Spring Trials Thoughts From Allan Armi…

“I went home from California Spring Trials realizing that the students enrolled in our Greenhouse Management program at Spokane Community College need to experience the trials. Attending opened many doors of opportunity for me.”

Read More
Cannabis Seedling

May 20, 2017

Biocontrols: A Practical Option for Cannabis

With limited options for chemical pest control, cannabis growers are incorporating biocontrols into their integrated pest management programs. More education will cement this solution as a viable option in this emerging market.

Read More
The Greenhouse and Hoophouse growers handbook

May 19, 2017

New Book Highlights the Benefits of Growing Vegetables …

Andrew Mefferd’s new book, “The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook: Organic Vegetable Production Using Protected Culture,” covers the many benefits of protected culture food production, from being first to market, to more effective pest control.

Read More
MedMen New Facility

May 18, 2017

MedMen Cannabis Production Facility in Nevada Nearly Co…

Construction is expected to be completed this summer on the facility, which will include a 26,000-square-foot greenhouse and a 19,000-square-foot extraction and production wing.

Read More
Christmas Cactus

May 18, 2017

How to Increase Branching and Flower Bud Production of …

Based on research completed at North Carolina State University, here are some methods for increasing branching and flower bud production of Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgessii).

Read More
Sempervivum with chicks

May 18, 2017

Branching Out With Configure on Succulents

Researchers at North Carolina State University determine the best timing, rates, and production methods for using benzyladenine to improve branching and flowering.

Read More
New Frontier Cannabis Industry Annual Report

May 18, 2017

New Frontier Publishes Annual Report on the Cannabis In…

The 2017 Cannabis Industry Annual Report provides an up-to-date perspective on the growth and transformation of the legal cannabis industry, and what it means for each segment of the market, including producers.

Read More