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March 10, 2011
Economics is called the dismal science because it acknowledges that we live in a world of limited resources. This implies that we have to make trade-offs — if we want to consume more of A, we must give up some of B; we simply can’t have it all....
March 10, 2011
Like many greenhouse growers today, Mark Elzinga was first introduced to the business as a child. He learned early on, working at his father’s facility Elzinga & Hoeksema Greenhouses in Portage, Mich., what was necessary for sustaining a...
January 12, 2011
By taking risks and focusing on value, Rocket Farms’ production has grown substantially. When opportunity knocks, this big grower is prepared and ready to move forward. Rocket Farms, headquartered in Salinas, Calif., was founded about 20 years ago...
January 12, 2011
The recovery remained lackluster in the third and fourth quarters of 2010, with gross domestic product (GDP) growth coming in at around 2 percent. We should, however, start to see the economy begin to re-accelerate in 2011. Consumer spending is...
January 12, 2011
 
December 06, 2010
In the past few weeks we have once again seen our industry consolidate and contract — Hines Nurseries filing for reorganization for the second time in two years, Weeks and J&P Roses filing bankruptcy, Iseli Nurseries filing for bankruptcy, and...
December 06, 2010
The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) declared recently that the so-called great recession actually ended in June of 2009. The popular press has been largely panning this pronouncement, saying that it is out of touch with Main Street where...
December 06, 2010
“Location. Location. Location.” That is the mantra of the real estate world. It’s also a pretty good motto for Norwin Heimos, the patriarch of N.G. Heimos Greenhouses in Millstadt, Ill. The large multifaceted grower has been growing and delivering...
September 13, 2010
GPN magazine recently invited me to be a panelist at a presentation about the state of the industry during this year’s OFA Short Course. Prior to the show, GPN and OFA — and Association of Horticulture Professionals — sent a survey out to growers...
September 13, 2010
A fairly widespread national economic recovery has been under way for almost a year. The pace of growth was strongest in the fourth quarter of 2009, which helped achieve a growth rate of almost 4 percent in the second half of last year. However, the...
September 13, 2010
The wholesale value of U.S. floriculture products decreased 4 percent from 2006 to 2009. While the decrease is not good, some may feel surprised the loss hasn’t been more dramatic. Most are probably now convinced that we are not a recession-proof...
September 13, 2010
Susie Raker-Zimmerman is not Gerry Raker’s daughter. She is his niece. Her father, Dave (who recently retired from C. Raker & Sons), is Gerry’s brother. But one of these days, Raker-Zimmerman jokes, she is going to get herself a T-shirt that...
June 14, 2010
We have worked and sacrificed to get to the top of the mountain. Let’s not forget that getting down often claims more victims. I recently read Into Thin Air, which is about an ill-fated expedition to climb Mount Everest. I was fascinated by the...
June 14, 2010
When spring started, the air was filled with anticipation of the pent-up consumer demand that was about to be unleashed. Two-thirds of growers responding to industry surveys indicated that business was “OK” or better (16 percent said it was good or...
June 14, 2010
In spite of the economic downturn, Wisconsin-based Plant Marketing continues to grow in more ways than one. As you drive through the rolling hills of west central Wisconsin, one of the last sights you might expect to see is 33 shiny new greenhouses...
March 25, 2010
It is no secret that big box retailers have been consolidating their supplier base in the lawn and garden category. Efficiency (cost reduction) and higher profitability are the goals, with much of the work and costs shifted to suppliers (growers)....
March 25, 2010
Gone are the days of growing your favorite crops and expecting them to sell themselves. This applies to both wholesale and retail markets. After all, large wholesale companies such as Coca-Cola do not sell directly to consumers, but they’re very...
March 25, 2010
Relative to the magnitude of historic economic downturns, the so-called Great Recession was not much more severe than the recessions of 1973-1975 and 1981-1982. However, economic recovery from this latest recession has started out much more slowly....
January 19, 2010
Consumers look at food’s packaging to find its calorie, protein, fiber and cholesterol content. Then they weigh that information with the price and decide which products to purchase. Walmart envisions consumers looking at a product’s sustainability...
January 19, 2010
It’s January, and though many people have made resolutions, few will keep them. It takes little effort to make them, but people fail when they lack the focus and drive to carry them through. While they’re bigger and more elaborate than simple...