Determining the top 25 states for floriculture turned out to be more difficult than we were anticipating because USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) only tracks 15 states now. The last time the agency tracked 36 states was in 2005, so we used that data. At first we thought we could at least update 15 of the states with 2007 data, but the way the results were calculated was different in 2007 than in 2005.
While 2005 excluded operations with less than $100,000 in sales, the 2007 report has an expanded wholesale value that includes operations with sales less than $100,000. The value of sales for growers below the $100,000 level was estimated by multiplying the number of growers in each size group by the midpoint of the sales range. We decided the cleanest way to go is for all 25 states to be from the same set of data in 2005.
For the 2007 report and access to data from past years, visit www.nass.usda.gov. Comparing the 15-state program years 2006 and 2007, the total crop value at wholesale is up 2 percent from $4.03 billion in 2006 to $4.1 billion in 2007.
Surprisingly, traditional crops like potted flowering plants, foliage plants and cut flowers all demonstrated gains, while bedding/garden plants, perennials and hanging baskets all showed declines. Our industry’s lead statistician, Marvin Miller of Ball Horticultural Co., says he thinks Florida’s full recovery from recent hurricanes created the 19 percent surge in foliage. “Florida had a great 2007 overall, and the industry was positive as a result,” he says. “The foliage ‘growth’ was a rebound to pre-2005 hurricane levels.”