Results of the latest USDA/National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)
Floriculture Crops 2003 Summary, reported by the Society of American Florists (SAF), show the wholesale value of domestic floriculture production fell less than 1 percent in
2003 compared to the revised 2002 valuation. A year ago, production value rose percent.
The total crop value for all domestic growers with $10,000 or more in sales in the
36 states included in the survey estimated to be $5.07 billion in 2003, compared to $5.09 billion in 2002. The two top states were California (down 2 percent) and Florida
(down 1 percent), then Michigan, Texas and New York. These five states accounted for more than half (52 percent) of the total value.
Bedding and garden plants recorded a 1-percent increase in wholesale value and accounted for the largest proportion of finished floriculture value, 51 percent, of the wholesale value of finished crops at $2.42 billion wholesale value. Potted flowering plants were down 2 percent at $829 million. The foliage category was valued at $623 million in 2003, virtually unchanged from the revised estimate of a year ago. The value of cut flowers was down less than 1 percent to $425 million, while cut cultivated greens lost 5 percent to $109 million.
The number of growers declined 8 percent to 11,913 from a revised count of
12,916. The larger growers, those with sales of $100,000 or more, dropped from 4,974 to 4,741. This year, there were drops in all sales size groups. Overall, 75 percent of the operations used some hired labor. The average number of hired workers employed on operations increased to 14.9, up from a revised 14.1 in 2002.
The larger growers, defined as those with a total wholesale value exceeding
$100,000 in sales, reached $4.76 billion in sales in 2003, unchanged from 2002. They comprised 40 percent of all growers and accounted for 94 percent of the total value of floriculture crops. California had 21 percent of the total wholesale value for the 36 states surveyed, followed by Florida with 17 percent. Michigan, Texas and New York rounded out the top five states accounting for 7, 6 and 4 percent, respectively.
In 2002, the number of bedding and garden plants growers with sales of
$100,000 or more was down 156 to 3,212; the number of growers of herbaceous perennials fell from 2,612 in 2002 to 2,518 in 2003; foliage growers were down by 67 to
1,604; cut flower growers fell by 70 to 548; cut cultivated greens growers fell by 39 to 205; and potted flowering plant growers fell by 157 to 2,282.
A breakdown of the number of growers of propagative materials with sales exceeding $100,000 showed 18 cut flower growers (down 3 from 2002); 201 growers of potted flowering plants (down 15); 252 of annual bedding/garden plants (down 11); 152 growing herbaceous perennials (up 5); 85 foliage growers (up 4); and 5 of cut cultivated greens (down 7). Total value of propagative material sales grew 1 percent in 2003 compared to 2002.
Top Floral Products
In the bedding/garden plants segment, potted geraniums (both from cuttings and
seed) sold for the highest value followed by pansy/viola flats. The top three-valued cuts in order were lilies, roses and tulips. Poinsettias were the highest valued potted flowering plant, at $252 million. Leatherleaf ferns made up $48.7 million of the cut cultivated greens category. Types of foliage plants are not reported.
The Survey & Report
The Commercial Floriculture Survey was significantly revised in 2000 to its current coverage. All known growers in the 36 selected states with sales exceeding $10,000 are included.
USDA/NASS surveys not only provide important information for industry planners, they also help SAF lobby more effectively on Capitol Hill, with information like the fact that floriculture and nursery crops combined are the third-largest U.S. crop, surpassed only by corn and soybeans in crop value to U.S. agriculture. Ira Silvergleit, SAF’s director of research, was selected by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to serve on the USDA Advisory Committee on Agricultural Statistics.
Copies of the report are available from the USDA/NASS at (800) 999-6779 and at
www.usda.gov/nass  by following the links for Floriculture Crops under Publications and
Reports by Commodity.