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Joseph Krahe and Benjamin Campbell

Green industry is in a state of rapid change and turmoil as it reacts to the 2008 financial crisis and its arrival at maturity. In an effort to survive this challenging period, many firms are using new technologies, ranging from basic e-mail and accounting software to sophisticated digital imaging systems for identifying diseases. However, there has been a noteworthy lack of research into the way that technology adoption impacts labor in this industry. This paper uses propensity score matching (PSM) to identify the impact that various technologies have on the number of full- and part-time employees as well as the portion of full-time laborers that green firms employ. We find that none of the technologies studied had a significant impact on the percentage of full-time workers employed by green industry firms, but there were some effects when examining full-time, part-time, and total number of workers.

Open access

Julie H. Campbell and Benjamin L. Campbell

A survey of Connecticut consumers was used to investigate perceptions of various green industry retailers. Consumer perceptions of independent garden centers (IGC), home improvement centers (HIC), and mass merchandisers (MM) business practices and their perceived value were assessed. Analysis of variance and ordinary least squares regression models were used to analyze the data. Results indicated that customer service, knowledgeable staff, and high-quality plants are important factors when consumers are deciding where to shop. IGCs were ranked highest in perceived customer service, knowledgeable staff, and plant quality, followed by HICs. MMs were ranked lowest for the majority of measured business practices, with the most notable exception being price. Additionally, IGCs, HICs, and MMs are perceived differently across age cohorts.

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Madiha Zaffou and Benjamin L. Campbell

Over the last decade, there has been a move by many consumers to purchase locally grown products. Many studies have focused on food with limited studies examining plants. Using an online survey of Connecticut residents in conjunction with a choice experiment, we examine the impact of various attributes (e.g., local labeling, retail outlet, color, bloom, and price) on preference and willingness to pay (WTP) for azaleas. Results of the latent class model (LCM) indicate that only one of the latent classes, ≈43% of the sample, valued local labeling. Furthermore, the same class that valued local also preferred a nursery/greenhouse outlet over a home improvement center/mass merchandiser. Recommendations for the different retail outlets are given based on the results.

Open access

Benjamin L. Campbell, Julie H. Campbell, and Joshua P. Berning

Using conjoint analysis and market simulations, the impact of the introduction of certified genetically modified organism (GMO)-free; GMO-free, not certified; and nonlabeled turfgrass was examined for Connecticut consumers. We categorized consumers into five distinct segments according to their preferences. The largest segment consisted of 38% of respondents (multifaceted), whereas the smallest consisted of 8% of respondents (extremely price sensitive). For most consumers GMO labeling was not a major driver for purchasing decisions, accounting for only 11% of purchasing decisions. However, holding all factors constant except GMO labeling and price, 66% of the market preferred a noncertified GMO-free label, with a significant number of consumers willing to pay for the certified GMO-free label. Based on market simulations, the noncertified GMO-free-labeled seed would maximize revenue at a 60% premium whereas the certified GMO-free label maximizes revenue when there is no premium.

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Benjamin L. Campbell and Charles R. Hall

Data from the 2004 National Nursery Survey conducted by the USDA-CSREES S-1021 Multistate Research Committee (referred to as the Green Industry Research Consortium) were used to evaluate the effect of pricing influences and selling characteristics on total gross firm sales and gross sales of several plant categories (trees, roses, shrubs/azaleas, herbaceous perennials, bedding plants, foliage, and potted flowering plants) for commercial nurseries and greenhouses. As expected, the firm's selling characteristics play a large role in whether a firm sells a specific plant category. Demand factors also play a role in affecting plant category sales with income, population, and race tending to be the only significant variables, except for the potted flowering plants category. In regard to sales, our results show that certain factors affecting pricing decisions play a critical role in both plant category sales and total sales. Furthermore, demand and business characteristics play a limited role as well, but not as big a role as selling characteristics. Of note is that firms with an increased percentage of sales through wholesale channels (of most plant categories and overall) result in increased sales. By understanding the nursery and greenhouse industry environment and how decisions affect overall and categorical sales, firms can implement strategies that capitalize on factors that have the potential to generate increased sales.

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Candace Bartholomew, Benjamin L. Campbell, and Victoria Wallace

Pesticide laws focused on school grounds/athletic fields are beginning to take shape around the United States. A body of literature has examined the health implications of pesticides on school children and faculty and staff. However, little research has examined the impact of changing pesticide regulations on grounds/field quality and expenses. Our research indicate that school grounds/field managers have perceived decreased quality after the Connecticut kindergarten to eighth grade pesticide ban went into effect in 2010. Furthermore, we find that educational sessions or increased expenditures on school grounds/fields can increase the probability of maintaining field quality at integrated pest management levels. However, we see that lower income areas are more likely to experience decreased grounds/field quality after the lawn care pesticide ban took effect.

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Benjamin Campbell, Hayk Khachatryan, and Alicia Rihn

Certain pesticides are coming under scrutiny because of their impact on pollinator insects. Although most consumers express willingness to aid pollinators, the reasons for consumers’ preferences or barriers to purchasing pollinator-friendly plants and the types of pollinators’ that consumers are trying to protect are less understood. Using an online survey of 1200 Connecticut (CT) consumers, of which 841 had home landscapes, we find that 46% of consumers with home landscapes purchased pollinator-friendly plants to attract pollinators to their landscape. Consistent with past research that focused on consumers’ preferences for pollinator-friendly plants, the data also reveal that some consumers are willing to pay premiums for plants that contribute to pollinator’s health. However, only 17% stated that attracting pollinators was their primary motivation; a finding that suggests labeling alone will likely not motivate consumers to purchase plants. The major barriers to purchasing pollinator-friendly plants included lack of labeling (cited by 28%), followed by high price (28%). Consumers purchasing pollinator-friendly plants were trying to attract butterflies (Lepidoptera) (78%), bees (Apidae) (59%), hummingbirds (Trochilidae) (59%), and other birds (41%). We also find that demographics and purchasing behavior affect barriers and types of pollinators desired. Simply labeling plants has the potential to increase purchasing, but increasing price could be detrimental as many consumers feel pollinator-friendly plants are highly priced. Implications for ornamental horticulture stakeholders are discussed.

Open access

Benjamin L. Campbell and William Steele

The number of pollinators has been reported to be decreasing for the past several decades. Numerous sources (e.g., climate change, pesticides, loss of habitat) have been noted as potential contributing factors to the decline. With respect to the green industry, the impact of pesticides on pollinator decline and consumer response to this impact is of critical importance. Although no definitive link exists of pesticides being a major contributing factor to pollinator decline, some retailers have banned their suppliers from using certain pesticides. As various sources (e.g., universities, media, activist groups) provide information (both positive, neutral, and negative) about the impact of pesticides on pollinators, no information exists regarding how consumers value such information. Using a sample of Connecticut consumers, this study evaluates how both information source and information type impact a consumer’s decision to purchase pollinator-friendly plants in the future. The study finds that consumers exposed to either neutral (no link between pesticides and pollinator decline) or negative (link between pesticides and pollinator decline) information from universities and major media outlets indicate they will purchase more pollinator-friendly plants compared with the no information (control) treatment. The results show that information from the federal government, nursery/greenhouse industry associations, and environmental activist groups have the same impact on self-reported future pollinator-friendly plant purchasing as the no information group.

Free access

Alicia Rihn, Hayk Khachatryan, Benjamin Campbell, Charles Hall, and Bridget Behe

A rating-based conjoint experiment combined with eye-tracking analysis was used to investigate the effect of plant attributes on consumer purchase likelihood for indoor foliage plants. The experiment assessed the effects of plant type (Dracaena marginata Lam., Guzmania lingulata, or Spathiphyllum wallisii Regel), volatile organic compound (VOC) removal capacity (high, low, or none specified), price ($10.98–14.98/plant), production method [certified organic, organic production (not certified), or conventional], and origin (in-state, domestic, or imported) on consumer preferences. An ordered logit model was used to analyze the data. Organic production methods, in-state origin, domestic origin, and high VOC removal increased participants’ purchase likelihood. Visually attending to the highest price point ($14.98) increased consumers’ purchase likelihood. Age, gender, child (<12 years), pet, relationship status, education, and ethnicity affected participants’ purchase likelihood for indoor foliage plants. Purchasing barriers for indoor foliage plants are also discussed. Results have implications for indoor foliage plant growers and retailers as they produce, promote, and sell their products.

Free access

Omer Hoke, Benjamin Campbell, Mark Brand, and Thao Hau

Consumption of berries has increased significantly over the past couple of years. As such, producers and retailers are experimenting with new berry varieties to capture market share and increase their profitability. We examine consumer preference and willingness to pay (WTP) for a relatively new-to-market berry (aronia: Aronia mitschurinii Skvortsov et Maitulina) compared with another relatively new berry (black currant: Ribes nigrum L.) as well as more traditional (raspberry: Rubus idaeus L., blueberry: Vaccinium corymbosum L., and blackberry: Rubus fruticosus L.) berries. Given that aronia berries have an astringent/bitter flavor while having high antioxidant levels we investigate how taste and health information impact preference and WTP. Furthermore, we add to the literature by investigating the differences in WTP for locally and nonlocally (regional, the United States, and outside the United States) labeled berries across varying retail outlets (i.e., farmer’s markets, farm stands, grocery store). We find that new berries (aronia and black currant) are heavily discounted compared with more traditional berries. Potentially negative taste information (i.e., astringent/bitter flavor) has a negative impact on WTP, whereas positive health information has a positive impact on WTP. The positive effect of health information tends to offset the impact of the negative taste information. With respect to local labeling and retail outlet, locally labeled berries at a farmer’s market and farm stand have WTP values similar to locally labeled berries at a grocery store. On the other hand, nonlocally labeled berries sold at a grocery store were discounted compared with locally labeled berries at a grocery store.