How the Horticulture Industry Can Ensure a Bright Future

The U.S. is experiencing the longest economic expansionary period in our country’s history, a record-breaking timeframe of nearly 123 months sustained by job growth, low unemployment rates, low interest rates, and fiscal stimulus, among other things.

Dr. Charlie Hall, Ellison Chair in International Floriculture at Texas A&M, reports that the housing sector is still growing, and there are more open jobs right now than people who are looking for jobs (7.3 million to 6.4 million). However, things are slowing down, he says, and while recession is not likely in 2019, it is imminent (50% likelihood in 2020; 80% in 2021).


Now, we can stand back and wring our hands over this ominous statement, or we can be grateful for the advance warning and start now to prepare for whatever the economy presents us with in the next few years. It’s a simple choice of acting or doing nothing, thus allowing ourselves to be acted upon. Which sounds more empowering to you?

Craig Regulbrugge, Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Governmental Regulations for AmericanHort, understands this concept perfectly. He recently shared with me that state delegations visiting the Hill during Impact Washington, a two-day advocacy event held in September, enjoyed a positive reception to the industry’s key issues — the need for labor solutions, the agriculture definition trucking fix, and several research priorities. Why? Because the delegates acted.

“Our attendees clearly walked away with a sense of optimism that despite the challenges, we can press our case and influence change,” he says. “It all comes down to the choice of simply enduring the future ─ or engaging to shape it.”

With all the recent developments and challenges in our industry today, there’s no lack of short-term distractions to draw attention away from a bigger picture focus on long-term survival and future growth. With so much going on, I worry that things like an upcoming recession are getting overlooked in our industry. Perhaps there are times we’re so caught up in present events we forget to look ahead.

Whatever holds your attention, don’t forget now is the time to prepare. Ask yourself what you are doing to proactively shape your economic future. I can think of three simple places to start ─ pay down debt, reduce spending, and shore up savings. Ask yourself how you are engaging to help steer future governmental policy that favors our industry. The obvious place to begin is to get involved.

I’m not suggesting we focus on the doom and gloom that the future may or may not bring. Rather, I’m advocating for preparedness. One of the benefits of preparedness is peace of mind, which goes a long way toward handling whatever the present or future throws your way.

Sound-Off: Do you think our industry is so caught up in present events it is overlooking other important issues? What do you think is the best way to prepare for future growth? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below or directly with me at [email protected].