AmericanHort Officially Begins Operations
AmericanHort, the horticulture industrys new trade association, formally began operating Jan. 1, 2014, with the closing on Dec. 31, 2013 of the consolidation of the American Nursery & Landscape Association and OFA The Association of Horticulture Professionals.
The more than two-year effort to bring the groups together was initiated by the volunteer leadership of the legacy organizations in order to better meet the needs of the industry and the respective memberships. The members voted in September 2013 to approve the consolidation.
AmericanHort’s mission is “to unite, promote, and advance the industry through advocacy, collaboration, connectivity, education, market development, and research. The vision developed by the new board of directors is to be a leading and unifying organization for the horticulture industry in order to cultivate successful businesses, and for the industry to enhance lives through the benefits of plants.”
The new organization will represent the whole of the plant industry, including breeders, greenhouse and nursery growers, garden center retailers, distributors, interior and exterior landscapers, florists, students, educators, researchers, manufacturers, and all of those who are part of the industry supply chain.
AmericanHort will have its primary office in Columbus, Ohio, and an office in Washington, D.C., to facilitate government relations and research activities, including the management of the Horticultural Research Institute. AmericanHort will also continue to manage America in Bloom.
While AmericanHort is a new non-profit corporation, it represents 220 years of service to the industry through the combined history of the two previous associations. “We will not forget the past as we rapidly move toward the future. We will continue the legacy of providing innovative education, industry promotion, developing consumer and professional markets, an expanding convention and trade show, and leading a powerful national government relations program,” said Michael V. Geary, CAE, the president and chief executive officer of the organization.
While the OFA and ANLA corporations ceased to exist at the end of 2013, the members of both groups have been automatically enrolled in AmericanHort. They will receive new membership certificates and instructions to update their company and individual profiles. The groups web site launched with information on membership and basic services. Enhancements to the site and additional membership features will roll out over the coming months.
“It’s what our members want. We surveyed our members, spoke with them, and finally asked them to cast a ballot. Each time they told us they want a national association that unifies and serves the entire horticulture industry,” said Mark Foertmeyer of Foertmeyer & Sons Greenhouse, the associations first Chairman of the Board of Directors.