Growers are an Aging Demographic, 2017 State of the Industry Says

Growers are an Aging Demographic, 2017 State of the Industry Says

Owners and upper management of growing operations in the horticulture industry, not unlike others in agriculture, are aging. Of those who took Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 State of the Industry Survey, 59% said they owned their businesses, while 17% were production management and 15% were senior management, 6% were in sales and marketing management, and 3% had other titles.

The majority of greenhouse operation owners are male (74%) and over age 55 (65%), while 29% are between ages 40 to 54 and 6% are in the 25 to 39 age range. Among business owners, 46% said they have a member of the next generation (born after 1970) who is preparing to assume, or who has already assumed leadership in their operations. Large operations (72%) are more prepared for succession than medium (59%) and small growers (34%).


“We are currently trying to transfer our operation to the third generation,” a grower said. “There is a lot of stress, as there are multiple families involved and a sticky land situation.”

Senior management positions are male-dominated (83%) and over age 55 (56%), while 28% are 40 to 54, and 17% are 25 to 39. Production management is slightly younger, with 42% over 55, 26% between 40 and 54, 29% ages 25 to 39, and 3% in the 18 to 24 range; and these jobs are also primarily male (77%). However in sales and marketing, the majority (56%) are female, and these roles are younger with 33% in the 55 and over range, 41% who are 40 to 54, 19% between 25 and 31, and 7% who are 18 to 24.