June 2024 - 14

LABOR
Labor survey
report
Ornamental growers reveal
industry challenges
BY DEBBIE EISELE
I
n an effort to gauge the labor landscape, Greenhouse
Product News recently conducted a labor survey
among growers, which unveiled critical insights into the
prevailing challenges faced by this sector.
The survey, conducted in April 2024, drew responses
from across the U.S. and from a diverse range of growers,
including traditional ornamental plants such as annuals,
perennials, trees, shrubs, herbs and leafy greens - and
a notable percentage also reported cultivating nontraditional
crops like cannabis and cacti, succulents and
xeric plants.
The survey revealed that approximately 55% of
respondents said that they did have enough labor in 2023,
and about 45% of respondents said that they did not have
adequate labor last year. For those experiencing shortages,
35% said less than 10% of their crops went unharvested,
28% noted 20% to 29% went unharvested, and 12% said
that they had greater than 30% unharvested, highlighting
the impact of labor scarcity on production efficiency and
economic viability.
H-2A
In addressing labor shortages, 33% of participants
reported using the H-2A program, indicating a reliance
on foreign guest workers to supplement domestic labor.
However, the complexities of the H-2A program, including
legal processes and wage requirements, have posed
significant challenges for growers.
Responses varied and some expressed concerns over
increased costs and wage spikes, while others highlighted
the bureaucratic hurdles involved in the application process.
Additionally, a considerable percentage (42%) of
respondents expressed a willingness to outsource the
14
JUNE 2024 GPNMAG.COM
H-2A recruiting and management process entirely, reflecting
a growing trend towards seeking external assistance to
navigate the intricacies of labor procurement.
AUTOMATION AND LABOR MANAGEMENT
STRATEGIES
To mitigate labor shortages, the survey identified 41%
of respondents will turn to automation as a predominant
strategy, with many planning to automate various
aspects of operations.
Pruning emerged as a primary focus for automation,
which underscores the industry's shift towards
mechanized solutions to streamline production processes
and reduce reliance on manual labor.
CHALLENGES AND REFLECTIONS
In addition to quantitative data, the survey captured
qualitative insights from respondents, which highlighted
the multifaceted nature of labor challenges in
the industry.
" Customers are reluctant to pay the price increases
needed to sustain the year after year labor increases, "
said one survey participant.
Concerns ranged from legislative barriers and
recruitment difficulties to generational attitudes towards
agricultural work.
" Finding labor that wants to work in ag is more
challenging than just finding people, " noted
another respondent.
These reflections underscored the need for holistic
approaches that address not only immediate labor
shortages but longer term labor issues affecting
the industry.
http://www.GPNMAG.COM

June 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of June 2024

Table of Contents
Editor's Report | Labor updates
Legislation | Tackling ag labor
Management | All-in-one installation
Labor | Labor survey report
Labor | New H-2A worker protections will start this year
CAST 2024 | CAST crazes of 2024
Pest & Disease Management | Start clean, stay clean
Biologicals | Plant health and biologicals
Dr. Bugs | Biological control agent of Western flower thrips
Forty Under 40 Perspectives | Remote Sales success
Culture Report | Sparkling new Princettia varieties
Duets | Plant pathology perspective from floriculture royalty
AmericanHort | Dive deeper and gain an edge
Product Marketplace
Industry News
Classifieds/Ad Index
June 2024 - 1
June 2024 - 2
June 2024 - Table of Contents
June 2024 - Editor's Report | Labor updates
June 2024 - 5
June 2024 - 6
June 2024 - 7
June 2024 - Legislation | Tackling ag labor
June 2024 - 9
June 2024 - Management | All-in-one installation
June 2024 - 11
June 2024 - 12
June 2024 - 13
June 2024 - Labor | Labor survey report
June 2024 - 15
June 2024 - Labor | New H-2A worker protections will start this year
June 2024 - 17
June 2024 - CAST 2024 | CAST crazes of 2024
June 2024 - 19
June 2024 - 20
June 2024 - 21
June 2024 - 22
June 2024 - 23
June 2024 - Pest & Disease Management | Start clean, stay clean
June 2024 - 25
June 2024 - Biologicals | Plant health and biologicals
June 2024 - 27
June 2024 - 28
June 2024 - 29
June 2024 - Dr. Bugs | Biological control agent of Western flower thrips
June 2024 - 31
June 2024 - Forty Under 40 Perspectives | Remote Sales success
June 2024 - 33
June 2024 - Culture Report | Sparkling new Princettia varieties
June 2024 - 35
June 2024 - 36
June 2024 - 37
June 2024 - Duets | Plant pathology perspective from floriculture royalty
June 2024 - 39
June 2024 - 40
June 2024 - 41
June 2024 - AmericanHort | Dive deeper and gain an edge
June 2024 - 43
June 2024 - Product Marketplace
June 2024 - 45
June 2024 - 46
June 2024 - 47
June 2024 - Industry News
June 2024 - 49
June 2024 - Classifieds/Ad Index
June 2024 - 51
June 2024 - 52
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