Mar 20, 2019
An Easy (and Worthwhile) Investment in Employee EducationBy Tim Hodson

Are you looking for high-quality, cost-effective and convenient training for you and your staff?

With limited availability of qualified labor,  training yourself and your existing staff to make better crop management decisions will help improve crop quality and boost your bottom line.

To help you achieve these goals, the University of Florida IFAS Extension is once again offering seven different four-week online greenhouse training courses in English and Spanish.

Each course is completely online, and includes streaming videos, readings and assignments. They are available any time of the day, and new modules activated each week during the course. PhD instructors are available for help and interactive discussions. Graduates receive a personalized certificate of completion.

The online course schedule for 2019 is:

  • Greenhouse 101*
  • Nutrient Management 1 (Introduction)**
  • Nutrient Management 2 (Advanced)***
  • Costing & Profitability***
  • Disease Management**
  • Weed Management**
  • Irrigation Water Quality and Treatment***

There are three different course levels:

*Introductory: Practical experience but without formal horticultural science education.
**Intermediate: Some experience and training, or entry university level.
***Advanced: Experienced, well-trained grower, or upper university level.

The first course for 2019 is Greenhouse 101. It will begin May 27. To register, visit

Registration cost for each course is $199, except for the Costing & Profitability course, which is $499. Discounts are available for registering multiple staff members.

For more information or to find out the dates for specific courses, contact the university at [email protected].

— Tim

P.S. Have you checked out the March issue of Big Grower yet? Click here to read the latest edition including our cover story on Knox Horticulture.


Costco Raises Employee Minimum Wage

Earlier this month, Costco announced it would raise its hourly minimum wage for employees to $15. This is the second raise in a year for Costco associates. Last June, the warehouse retailer raised its minimum wage from $13 to $14. Costco’s move follows the latest trend of retailers raising pay rates to compete for quality labor. Target stores are currently paying $12 an hour and plan to boost that to $15 next year. In January, Walmart raised it minimum hourly wage to $11 an hour.

Walmart’s Strong Fourth Quarter Contributes to Employee Bonuses

Thanks to a strong fourth quarter, Walmart rewarded more than 912,000 employees with a share of $207 million in cash bonuses. The bonuses are part of the company’s incentive plan that recognizes employee efforts at stores that “achieve sales and customer goals.” The bonuses averaged out to approximately $225 per employee and were distributed in early March. “We have been investing in our associates through pay increases, training, benefits and bonuses and it is really paying off,” said Kate Mora, regional general manager. In fiscal 2018, Walmart spent $400 million to fund one-time bonuses for its employees.

Lowe’s Participates in Inaugural International Women Build Day

On March 8, Habitat for Humanity, Lowe’s and hundreds of women volunteers came together in 18 communities for the first International Women Build Day, a global event focused on building and improving homes while raising awareness of affordable housing issues facing women and their families. The build day was also a tribute to International Women’s Day. “Countless women struggle to provide shelter for their families. We stand with Habitat for Humanity on International Women’s Day to empower women to share their stories through messages of optimism and action to support safe and affordable housing,” said Jennifer Weber, executive vice president and Lowe’s foundation chair.



Tim Hodson

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

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