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Mar 2, 2018
2018 Winter Trade Show Season: 'Labor on the mind'
Jeff Gibson Ball Landscape Business Manager

It was an action packed Winter trade show season this year! I personally attended MANTS, Gulf States, Illinois Industry Green Association InVigorate, the I-Landscape show here in the home state of Illinois, and the Wisconsin Nursery and Landscape Show.

I was privileged to speak at three of these. (See "Presentations" at the Balllandscape.com homepage.)

I can report that the mood in general at all shows I attended was very positive going into the Spring planning and planting season. Growers had a good year last year for the most part and the contractors all noted having no trouble getting work! The downside for most is a concern for finding (and keeping) enough labor to do all the work. Some even noted needing to be more selective of the types of jobs taken based on the amount of labor they had to do the installs. Quite different from years past.

Two thoughts on this:

  1. It is clear that the access to labor is going to be a drag on landscape industry growth. (See this Washington Post article on landscape labor)
  2. We need to all be working on encouraging the next generation of would-be nurserymen and women, and landscape professionals to considered "green collar" jobs. (See Landscapeindustrycareers.org, and Seed Your Future.org)

The Seed Your Future organization has some very interesting research work about the lack of understanding of careers in horticulture. Check it out for yourself!

In the meantime … Happy sowing and growing. Soon to be planting!

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