Spring is in full swing in greenhouses across the country. Growers are busy receiving young plants and shipping others to markets that have opened due to the recent warm weather.
However, recruiting and maintaining sufficient labor remains a major challenge in the greenhouse industry as the unemployment rate is around 4% in states such as Michigan. More greenhouses than ever are using the H-2A guest worker program, while others are considering the program in the future.
In visiting with growers through the winter months, Heidi Lindberg of Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) says the MSUE floriculture team has seen growers using a variety of strategies to reduce their reliance on labor, from high-tech equipment to streamlining their product lines for greater efficiency.
A report from Lindberg on the MSUE website outlines some of these strategies, including:
• Direct sticking plant material into finished containers
• Allowing for drop-in containers
• Chemical pinching, and many other methods.
Check out the complete MSUE report for more tips.