Another One Down By Bridget White


Well…it’s here — the end of another year. Next month willbring resolutions and new starts and more trade shows than we could everattend. But for now, all is peaceful and quiet. The Christmas crops are out thedoor, for better or worse, employees are taking a much-needed break, yourranges are empty and quiet…it’s a great time to reflect. After all, a lot hashappened this year in our industry: Our largest trade association got a newleader and a new name, John Holmes and OFA, respectively; America In Bloomcompleted its first competition; we lost several long-time friends in BobHolley and Paul Ecke, Jr.; and our third-largest retail outlet, K-Mart, filedfor bankruptcy. Just to name a few things.

Yes, it has been a busy year, and if you haven’t already,now is the perfect time to evaluate what all of this means for your business.Did you grow the right crops? Should you have added another range? Is it theright time to buy a new bench system? Are you working with the right vendors?There’s a lot to consider, and we thought that seeing how some of your peersanswered these questions might help. Our way of doing that is the Annual Stateof the Industry Report.

Reading the Report

Most of you are familiar with the State of the Industry,from having seen it in the pages of GPN the past six years, so I won’t bore youwith too many of the details. Basically, we mail a 4-page survey to about 2,000of your peers, tabulate the results and highlight the most interesting resultsin the pages of GPN. In years past, the survey has taken place in early spring,with the article appearing in May’s GPN, but this year is a little different.We thought growers would probably have more time to answer a questionnaire andread the results at year’s end instead of season’s end. Hence the move of GPN’sAnnual State of the Industry report from our May issue to the December one.

As in years past, the State of the Industry examinesresponses based on a national average, a regional average and size of operationto help you compare your business both with those of like size and with thosein your immediate area. In many cases, averages from the past five years arealso supplied so that you can better identify trends.

GPN started the State of the Industry, and co-sponsor SummitPlastics began supporting it, because of the lack of good research in ourindustry. The only other survey that can purport to cover our industry isUSDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service survey, which includes only thetop 17 production states and covers such material as fruit and nut plants andChristmas trees, along with floriculture crops. We wanted to offer a survey toour readers that focuses exclusively on our part of the market, one that coversthe entire country and one that is conducted by people who know the industry.

I know you will be comforted by this year’s results. Afterfacing problems like water restrictions, the third bad spring in a row andpricing pressures, I was happy to see this year’s data look very similar tolast year’s. There are some fluctuations here and there, mostly with productioncosts and crops produced, but from my reading, we held our own this year.Congratulations.

One quick word of caution before I turn you loose to readthe report in its entirety, starting on page 10. This is just a survey. We didnot speak to everyone in the industry, and we did not verify answers. When youread the survey, please take these factors into account. What you will bereading is a snapshot detailing a closed group of people at a certain time whoare estimating numbers to the best of their recollection. We do not claim thatthe averages presented will hold true for every greenhouse operation or thatyou should evaluate your business based on these numbers. The reason we conductthis survey is simply to let you know what’s going on with some of your peers.And, with that said, enjoy the GPN/Summit Plastics Sixth Annual State of theIndustry Report!

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Bridget White

Bridget White is Editor of GPN.

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GPN recognizes 40 industry professionals under the age of 40 who are helping to determine the future of the horticulture industry. These individuals are today’s movers and shakers who are already setting the pace for tomorrow.

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