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  • Author or Editor: Robin G. Brumfield x
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The greenhouse, nursery, and sod (GNS) sector in the United States accounted for $10 billion in gross sales or 5% of gross farm receipts, in 1998. Despite its significant economic contributions, the sector receives little attention from policymakers. Part of the problem lies in the absence of empirical economic analysis that addresses the impact of the sector on the U.S. economy. The absence of such analysis places the sector at a disadvantage when agricultural policies are designed to address agricultural imbalances, such as farm income problems, and hinders the ability of the sector to lobby for policies favorable to GNS producers. This study provides estimates of the economic impacts of the GNS sector on the U.S. economy and quantifies the linkages between the GNS sector and other economic sectors. The results show that the sector contributed over $26 billion and $17 billion in output and value added economic activity, respectively, and over 438,000 jobs.

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The aim of this study was to identify existing gender roles in greenhouse vegetable production in the Antalya Province of Turkey. For this purpose, we conducted face-to-face interviews with the owners of 50 vegetable-producing greenhouses to understand the dominant household structures, activity profiles, information sources, training needs, access to resources, control over resources, and intrahousehold income stream. Activity profiles reflected the hours per day men and women spent on specific greenhouse production and household tasks. We observed access to and control of production resources as well as intrahousehold income streams for the two genders. Compared with men, women had higher illiteracy rates and lower levels of education. They also had overall heavier workloads despite having similar workloads in the greenhouse (productive activities), the difference resulting from household (reproductive activities) which were carried out mainly by women. Women received most agricultural information from neighbors, while men obtained most information from chemical salespeople. Notably, men received some information from the agricultural extension service, but women did not. Women also had less access to and control over productive resources. Furthermore, the intrahousehold income streams in the selected households benefited men more than women. In this study, we compared differences among three independent demographic variables: the age of producers, the level of education of the producers, and years of experience farming against women’s ability to prepare the family budget, spend money without asking her spouse, purchase of agricultural inputs, and select which vegetables to produce. Statistically significant links were found between women’s age and ability to manage the family budget, education level and ability to make purchase decisions, and years of production experience and ability to select which vegetables to purchase. The results of this study provide evidence for an unequal social structure and show that efforts should be made to increase women’s access to and control of production resources, including information from the extension service.

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Production costs have been analyzed in several studies using such normative approaches as budgeting and mathematical programming, and positive approaches as estimation of production, cost, or profit functions. This study used budgeting methods to analyze the costs and benefits of adopting integrated crop management (ICM) or organic methods versus conventional agriculture for tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.), sweet corn (Zea mays L. var. saccharada), and pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo L.). Data were collected using field studies conducted at the Rutgers University Snyder Research and Extension Farm, Pittstown, N.J. Time and motion study techniques were used to record machinery use and labor quantities. Records of production inputs and yields were also collected. These records were then converted to a 1.0-acre (0.4-ha) basis to constructed crop budgets. Results show that ICM systems are more profitable than conventional and organic systems. Organic systems had the lowest net returns. However, because of the organic price premium, the net returns were fairly close to those for conventional and ICM systems.

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Turkish cut-flower exports grew from about $100,000 in 1985 to $11 million in 1995 (not adjusted for inflation). Since this is a growing industry in Turkey, we wanted to examine the production structure and main problems of export-oriented contract growers. We surveyed 33 cut-flower export growers and 30 contract growers between May and July 1997. We conducted the survey in the Antalya province, which is the center of the export-oriented cut-flower production in Turkey. The results indicate that cut-flower companies were not highly mechanized, but did use computerized accounting systems. Transportation of cut flowers to foreign markets was the largest expense item in the cut-flower industry. Despite a high rate of unemployment, cut-flower companies face difficulties in obtaining and keeping qualified employees. Managers tended not to use specific performance indicators such as sales per employee or sales per square foot relevant to the cut-flower industry. The most common method for arranging cut-flower export sales was personal contact with the importers. Contracts between firms which grew and exported flowers and smaller contract growers were common, but some problems existed concerning quality and financial obligations. Growers are using fewer commission contracts and are instead opting to sell on a fixed-price basis. The main concerns raised by managers were related to increased competition, price-cutting, transportation expenses for export, training, and labor supply.

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Tomatoes, cultivar `Mountain Pride', were evaluated for productivity, post-harvest qualities, and pest populations in three different production systems. These included a conventional, high chemical input system with prophylactic applications of pesticides and fertilizers; a reduced chemical input system that used pesticides only as needed; and a transitional organic system that followed the guidelines of the Organic Farmers Association of New Jersey. No significant differences were observed in either the high input or low input system despite a reduction in synthetic pesticide and fertilizer use. Organically produced tomatoes yielded significantly less than the other production systems in terms of total yields. Average fruit size was increased, however, along with the percentage of tomatoes with diameters larger than 7.7 cm. Differences in pest populations were noted between the plots.

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The ornamental horticulture industry relies on workers to do myriad tasks, such as pruning, applying fertilizers, scouting, spraying pesticides, planting, harvesting, packing, and weeding. As a result of the perishable nature of horticultural goods, a skilled and accessible labor supply is imperative for continued industry growth and stability. The decreasing number of workers, followed by increasing wage rates, could be alarming for the economic well-being of the ornamental horticulture industry, which has already experienced a downward trend in revenue and profits. Combining 2014 and 2019 National Green Industry Survey data, this study investigates factors affecting ornamental growers’ decisions on hiring H-2A workers. Growers’ decisions are largely affected by their home state’s enforcement of the 287(g) program and the observed industry employment and total wage payment. Growers are more likely to participate in an H-2A workers program if their home state implemented the restrictive 287(g) program. Increasing industry employment of domestic workers will discourage participation in the H-2A workers program, but increasing industry wage costs will encourage participation. In contrast, individual firm characteristics play different roles in program participation and the number of H-2A workers hiring decision. Increasing farm sales value by $1 million merely increases the probability of hiring by a 0.1% point, revealing that large growers are the major beneficiaries of the H-2A workers program. After the participation hurdle is overcome, the number of H-2A workers hired is affected minimally by these factors. Our results suggest that the current H-2A program imposes a potential hurdle to participate, thus benefiting large growers.

Open Access

In the past decade, organic production has become a growing segment of the healthy food market. Organic farming is expanding gradually in many countries, and consumption of organic products is gaining a huge importance in the developed countries, such as the U.S., countries in the European Union (EU), Canada, and Japan. The increase of domestic market demand in developed countries and export potential for developing countries has stimulated organic agricultural production. In this report, we briefly examine the development of the world organic market and examine regulations with regard to production and certification. We also provide a detailed review of the current structure of organic food production and marketing in Turkey, a developing country with advantages to increase organic production. The overall picture of organic products in Turkey seems very positive. The size of the domestic market for organic products is estimated to be $3 to $5 million, with annual growth projected to be about 50% for the next 5 years. Eighty percent of current production in Turkey is export-oriented. The EU has been the main export destination. The positive market outlook will no doubt create a renewed interest in organic products among Turkish farmers and policy makers.

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Face-to-face interviews of produce customers at Kings Super Markets in New Jersey yielded data on consumers' tastes and preferences, quantities purchased, and prices paid for fresh tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). Purchase behavior indicated that during the local season, consumers preferred tomatoes grown in New Jersey to tomatoes from other origins. Data were fitted to demand equations to determine the factors affecting demand for fresh tomatoes. Tomato origin significantly influenced consumer purchases. Consumer perceptions of product characteristics such as color, freshness nutrition, and appearance do not appear to significantly influence tomato purchase patterns. However, prices of the) tomatoes or substitutes and income were important determinants of quantity purchased of both New Jersey grown and other tomatoes. New Jersey grown tomatoes were generally perceived to be of superior quality.

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Nursery production contributed $18.1 billion to the U.S. economy in 2002 and created nearly two million jobs. A U.S. Department of Agriculture multistate research committee on economics and marketing has conducted The National Nursery Survey four times at 5-year intervals (1988, 1993, 1998, and 2003) to help fill the void of publicly available information on production, marketing, and management for the nursery industry. In 2003, the committee conducted the National Nursery Survey using a standard sampling methodology targeting 15,588 total firms representing 44 states with 2,485 nurseries responding. The objective of this analysis was to provide a regional profile of the marketing practices of nursery producers. Regional differences were present in several areas of sales management, selling practices, pricing, and advertising. Generally, the coastal regions had a higher percentage of wholesale sales, whereas interior regions had a higher percentage of retail sales. Newsletters and yellow pages were the most important form of advertising in the Great Plains; trade journals were the most important method in the south central and southeast regions; and catalogs were the most important advertising method for all other regions. The percentage of sales to repeat customers varied from a low of 65.6% in the Great Plains to a high of 76.2% in the southeast. The Appalachian (26.9%) and southeast (26.8%) regions had the highest percentage of negotiated sales, whereas the northeast had the lowest. Although significant differences generally existed among regions in the percentage of sales spent on various transaction methods, nurseries in all regions used in-person, telephone, and mail order as their three most important sales transaction methods, except for the southeast where trade shows were the third most important method of sales transactions. Landscape professionals, rewholesalers, and single-location garden centers were the major market outlets in all regions. Respondents in all regions identified production, personnel, and marketing as limitations for expansion.

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Water availability, quality, and management, particularly under climate change constraints and fierce competition for water resources, are challenging the sustainability of intensively irrigated nursery crops. We created an online tool to estimate costs and benefits of a water recycling investment at a commercial nursery, given data on the operation input by the user. The online tool returns a “regulatory risk score” based on the user’s drought and pollution risk. Then, using a partial budget approach, it returns net present value of the investment, upfront capital cost, and expected change in annual cash flow. The present article seeks to cross-validate this computer model with results reported in the case study literature. We aggregated data on 38 nurseries and greenhouses profiled in five published studies into a meta study dataset. These data validated the computer tool’s assumptions about the relationship of operation size to total capital cost. Separate simulations on the profitability effects of varying public water rates and price premia due to green marketing corroborated the findings of earlier studies. A major finding of the simulation analysis not previously emphasized in the literature is that capital cost and profit vary significantly with the precise method that is used to size the recapture pond. A “minimalist” approach to this decision is likely to be the most cost-effective, but growers should also keep stormwater runoff and other issues of environmental best practices in mind.

Open Access