The economy has been and continues to be one of the top challenges to business growth, growers confirmed again this year, but there’s no one challenge that rises above and beyond as the toughest to overcome. Greenhouse management and financial management concerns have seemed to drop slightly, as fewer growers reported them as the area they’d most like to improve. Marketing reigned supreme in the “want to improve” category at 38%, with pest and disease control following behind with 32%. Interestingly, staff hiring and training was an area of less concern this year than in the past, down 5% and below social media presence. Improving marketing efforts still seems to be an important task for growers. The majority of social media users are on Facebook — 66%.

This year, we asked growers about their future business plans. 27% of respondents said that they plan to retire and/or sell their business in the next five years, which isn’t surprising, considering that an estimated 10,000 Baby Boomers that are retiring each day. That means slightly more than one in every four greenhouse owners will be leaving the industry in a few short years — and only 33% of those owners have a succession plan in place, with another 23% saying that it’s “unnecessary.” The other 42% said that they don’t have a plan yet. Of these that don’t have a succession plan, what will become of their business? The industry may undergo some significant changes over the next five to 10 years as these owners retire.