We Are on a Mission By Tim Hodson

The editorial mission of GPN magazine is to provide growers like you with the business and technical information you need to succeed in today’s ever-changing, competitive marketplace. We’ve been doing this for nearly 20 years now. But recently, we launched two new and innovative initiatives to help growers continue their professional development.

In February, GPN‘s Big Grower magazine, along with our friends at Visions Group, produced the first-ever Executive Summit. This event took place in Pacific Grove, Calif., and brought together 29 CEOs and senior managers from 21 of the largest growing operations in the country for a candid dialogue on many of the different issues facing our industry today.

Sponsored by Summit Plastics, Rough Brothers, Goldsmith Seeds and MasterTag, the overall theme for the meeting was “Succeeding in a Big Box Market.” During the 2 1/2-day conference, attendees heard presentations and perspectives from experts both inside and outside of our industry to help get a deeper understanding of the complex challenges everyone is forced to deal with on a daily basis. Some of the session topics included sustainability; branding; product development, vendor-managed inventory and pay by scan; and the latest consumer trends.

The meeting also featured a “fireside chat” with Home Depot executives Scott Manning, vice president of merchandising, Garden, Dept. 28; and Don Blume, divisional merchandising manager, Garden, Dept. 28. During this discussion, Manning and Blume talked about how Depot plans to work with growers this year and in the future, the company’s views on the lawn and garden sector and some of its marketing plans for the coming years.

The presentations, as well as many of the side conversations that were sparked among the presenters and attendees, were extremely interesting. Discussion topics ranged from defining sustainability to buying greenhouse insurance to selecting which varieties to grow — and so much more! It was amazing to listen to growers describe their experiences over the years.

Based on the overwhelming response from attendees, plans are under way for the 2009 Executive Summit.

A New Way for Growers to Use the Web

In March, we produced our first-ever, online webinar, “Using Plant Growth Regulators on Herbaceous Perennials.” Sponsored by SePRO Corp., this online learning experience was presented by GPN regular contributor Dr. Joyce Latimer of Virginia Tech University.

Dr. Latimer provided participants with an excellent overview on the different available growth retardants, how PGRs work on perennials, application methods, and other tips and suggestions for growers.

If you missed our webinar, you can still watch it by going to www.gpnmag.com and clicking on the “View the PGR Webinar” link on the right-hand side of the page. This will take you to an archived version of Dr. Latimer’s presentation.

The free webinar was the first in a series that we will be producing in the coming months. The next one will take place in July. Keep an eye out for more details in our electronic newsletter, GPN Weekly. If you do not receive GPN Weekly, you can sign up for it on our website.

If you have suggestions for other topics you would like to see covered in the future, shoot me an e-mail at [email protected]

Tim Hodson

Tim Hodson is the editorial director of GPN and Big Grower. He can be reached at [email protected]

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