Labor named biggest challenge for North American growers

When engaging with growers and suppliers at the Cultivate show, it becomes evident that labor is the primary hurdle currently faced by the horticultural industry, leading to a high demand for automation solutions. "The younger generation seems to have little interest in the horticultural industry and is reluctant to engage in seasonal work."

Sarah Makiejus and Sean Valk of PanAmerican Seed in front of the Caliburst display. Caliburst is just launched and is the first Petchoa from seed. In the picture, Sean is holding the Sweet Taffy E3 Easy Wave.

The team of Beekenkamp presenting 2 leaf begonias, several Macarose, including a new one, the Grace Pelargonium, and some variegated Kalanchoes at their booth.

Shortage of knowledge and availability
Both the cost and availability of skilled labor pose significant difficulties for growers in the North American market. "There is a shortage of individuals with knowledge of growing and the greenhouse industry," states a supplier, and this issue has been further exacerbated by the lack of suitable regulations for seasonal workers in the US.

Labor costs have increased, as have the costs of utilities such as pots, potting soil, and fertilizers. While logistic costs may have decreased over the last 12 months, they still remain considerably higher compared to pre-pandemic times. Additionally, combined with general inflation and retailers' reluctance to increase retail prices, profit margins within the industry have slimmed.

Jos de Boer and Brittany Suarez of ForemostCo. And during the show, they won the Retailer's Choice Award!

Aaron Wilschut en Joke Schroeten of Van Krimpen presenting their new R-tray for 12cm pots.

Hartwig Bull, Sven Magnussen, and Kathy McKay of Bull Genetics. Marilyn (left) and Emma (right) are new at Bull Genetics and are more compact than the rest of the series.

However, horticulture has always been an industry of innovation and finding solutions. Growers are investing in automation to reduce their reliance on labor and lower labor costs. Alternatively, they are adjusting their cultivation practices by reducing the number of crop rotations and cultivations required.

The Cultivate event started on Saturday, and the trade show opened its doors Sunday, where more than 650 exhibitors showcased their products and services. Our team is present at the show and will publish a photo report later on - but here's a preview!

Gord van Egmond, Randy Vermeer, Jack Smit, Ray Beyer, Chris Jorritsma and Les van Egmond from Westbrook. In the middle, Ronald Thijssen with Ammerlaan construction working together to provide glass structure Venlo greenhouse for both America and Canada. Westbrook is also growing in Central US.

Eric Lekkerkerk, Robert de Vries, Mark Thomas, and Martin Nugteren with Klasmann USA, presenting new soil solutions.

Josh Houwelingen and Darren Murray with ETgrow, offering Sense and Protect, Growing Analytics.

Steve Collins with Freshlight. FreshLight introduces a new UV C boom light. It will eliminate viruses, pathogens, and bacteria. Greatly reduce your plant loss, and mitigate insects.

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