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Marketing, Managing, and Producing Environmental Plants in a Technical and Economically Efficient Manner
Department of Horticulture
The procedures for the new project will emphasize the collaborative approach to address researchable problems confronting the large and expanding landscape (environmental) plant industry. The national-wide membership of this research group provides an excellent means for researchers in states with similar production, marketing, or management proglems to cooperate as a team. As appropriate, the committee will continue to sponsor and support national and/or international symposia to serve the needs of scientists with an interest in the landscape (environmental) plant industry.
Because of the limited nature of resources devoted to this research arena and the growing economic importance of this sector, it is crucial that research mechanisms be developed to assist producers and marketers of these plants to better ascertain opportunities and threats in the next five years.
2010 Project Description
The Green Industry Research Consortium, (S-1021), conducted a survey of the U.S. nursery and greenhouse in 2009 in all 50 states, reflecting 2008 data.
Kentucky's nursery and greenhouse industry has grown at a rate of 8 to 10% per year for many years. The most significant U.S. industry growth was in the 80's and 90's and the most rapid growth of Kentucky's industry has been since 2000. U.S. sales of nursery and greenhouse crops was determined to be more than $27 billion in 2008 and Kentucky's sales were more than $147 million.
Approximately one-third of the Kentucky nursery and greenhouse industry's 2,090 employees in 2008 were permanent employees.
The majority of Kentucky firms responding to the survey had both wholesale and retail sales with 35% of total sales being wholesale. Seventy percent of the firms responding sold in wholesale markets and 70% had retail sales. The ratio of wholesale to retail sales in Kentucky was lower than in other states in the region with a larger nursery and greenhouse industry. For example, 88% of Tennessee and 87% of North Carolina total annual sales were to the wholesale market. The average annual sales reported by Kentucky respondents were $617,000 per firm and the national and Appalachian Region averages were $1.7 million. Sixty-three percent of Kentucky firms responding had annual sales less than $250,000, 10% had sales of $1-2 million and 7% had sales of $2-10 million. This is similar to national data, with over 50% of respondents with less than $250,000 in annual sales and 17% had sales of $1 million or greater.
One-half of Kentucky respondents established their nursery or greenhouse operations since the year 2000. Thirteen percent were established in the 90s and 23% in the 1980s or 1970s. Nationally, the highest growth rate in terms of number of firms was in the 1980s and 1990s. Generally, Kentucky has experienced the greatest entry into the industry since the turn of the century, lagging somewhat the timing of the U.S. growth trajectory.
The average number of employees of responding Kentucky firms was 3.8 permanent employees and 5.0 temporary employees. The estimated total employment (permanent and temporary) for Kentucky in 2008 was 2,095. Although the percentage of responding firms in the various annual sales categories was similar to the national average, Kentucky's average employment was less than than the regional and national averages.
A Circular to be published by the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service with specific Kentucky industry information is under review. Information from the national survey will be utilized in the on-going Extension program for Kentucky's nursery and greenhouse industries. Nursery managers will be able to compare their operations to state, regional and national averages and make more informed management decisions.