With the coming of the new year, people commonly spend time
reflecting on the past year — what were the biggest events, who were the
most important people. Rather than immerse ourselves in history, I want to
encourage everyone to plan the future, seize control of your destiny and all
Seriously, though, I have always believed that there is real
value in positive thinking — the body reflects what the mind thinks. And
especially when you’ve had a year like what 2001 turned out to be, you
want to move on as quickly as possible. So, before you all realize what a
Pollyana I am, let’s get down to the business of setting some
We all have our personal resolutions — eat out less,
exercise more, be less grumpy — so why not set some goals for ourselves
as an industry? The following are the 10 I will propose as a good starting
10. Be more efficient.
I put this at the bottom of our list because I know many of you have tightened
your proverbial belts as much as you can. Still, for others of us, and I do
definitely fall into this category, there are ways that we could be more
efficient with our time, our resources, our energy.
9. Try beneficials.
As much talk as there is at conferences and in magazines, very few of the
growers I know use a substantial amount of beneficial insects or organic
treatments, even though everyone worries about resistance and tightening
environmental laws. The new year is a great time to take the plunge.
8. Update facilities.
I know this is a major expense and that most of us don’t have lots of
extra cash these days, but even relatively low cost things like replacing
cooling pads or switching to drip irrigation can quickly pay for themselves.
Updates and maintenance really are money savers.
7. Experiment. Try
new things. Don’t just assume that the same old method or a single
fungicide fits every application. A new chemical rotation or a new spacing
formulation might result in a better crop or larger margins.
6. Market, market, market. There’s no one marketing solution for everyone, but
everyone’s ultimate goal is to make it as easy as possible for the
retailer to sell more plants. Maybe this means developing a branded line of
plants; maybe it means promoting the store’s brand; maybe it means
designing a new tag — whatever we can do as individuals helps the whole
5. Read more GPN…
you knew I was going to slip that into the list somewhere.
4. Get out more. No,
I’m not encouraging you to party like a teenager, though a night out on
the town rarely hurts anyone. We do, however, need to take better advantage of
one of our best resources: each other. Everyone has a few secrets, but most
growers would love a visit from a neighbor and would welcome the opportunity to
3. Think “outside the box.”
style='font-weight:normal'> As over-used as this expression has become, we can
all benefit from doing things differently sometimes. Try some new crops, grow a
different product size, change tags…whatever that something new is, you
and your bottom line will benefit from the change.
2. Be an industry advocate. I know it’s hard to give up your valuable “free
time” (by the way, does anyone know if there really is such a thing?),
but everyone can, and should, do something. If not on a national level with one
of the trade groups, then locally. Open your range to school tours; donate
plants to beautify your city; do something that translates into promotion for
1. Just say no to price cuts. It’s hard to turn down a large order, but for the good of the
entire industry, we all have to start pricing our product at what it’s
worth, at what consumers will pay for it, instead of the least amount a vendor
can get away with. And let me take this opportunity to applaud those growers
who have walked away from negotiations instead of devaluing our product. We all
know who you are, and we appreciate it.
Well, there you have it. There’s a lot to work on this
list, but I have every confidence that you will all keep our resolutions
— at least until February.
From the staff at GPN — Beth, Brandi, Bridget,
Catherine, Kelley, Jean, Tami and Tim — we wish you and yours a
prosperous new year that fulfills all of your wishes.