2020 was an exceptional year for the green industry overall. Early-Spring sales were disrupted by COVID-19 related shutdowns, and some greenhouse growers had to dump product early due to timing of demand-availability mismatches. However, mid-Spring through year-end sales generally made up for these early losses.
Sales generally continued strong into summer and fall for most greenhouse, nursery, and sod producers. Many producers report being able to increase prices and margins in 2020.
Key contributors to strong results were 1) early business designation as ‘essential’, 2) pro-active and upbeat management of customer and staff COVID-19 protocol compliance, 3) rapid adoption of distant-friendly processes (online or remote payment, delivery/loading mechanics, focus on customer traffic flows, etc), 4) supply-chain management and 5) ultimately most critical - full sell-through of inventory without material levels of discounting.
Sod sales declined early in the season amidst a slowdown of construction and landscape activity but have generally recovered, and continued strong well into the fall.
As with other agricultural sectors, the availability and cost of labor continues to be a challenge, not just for entry-level production workers, but for supervisory and skilled staff as well.