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Huge win: USDA publishes 2018 Floriculture Crops Summary

The U.S. Department of Agriculture published the 2018 Floriculture Crops Summary — a report that came about as a direct result of lobbying by the Society of American Florists and meetings in Washington, D.C., between SAF members and lawmakers during the association’s annual Congressional Action Days.

The report provides benchmarks to identify market trends and project sales opportunities, making its publication “a huge win for the floral industry,” said Drew Gruenburg, SAF’s chief operating officer.

SAF-July1Last March, dozens of SAF members traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for industry issues, including publication of the 2018 Floriculture Crops Summary.“The lobbying by SAF members during Congressional Action Days was a big reason why USDA decided to produce the 2018 report,” Gruenburg said. “But also, we worked hand in hand with the USDA’s Agriculture Research Service to identify creative ways to fund the report, and ARS was very receptive to the suggestions and recommendations provided by SAF.”

The report is the only source of annual data on annual bedding and garden plants, potted herbaceous perennials, potted flowering plants for indoor and patio use, foliage plants for indoor or patio use, cut flowers, cut cultivated greens, and propagative floriculture materials. It shows trends in domestic production and helps show year-to-year direction. The report is used in determining government agricultural policy and data for academic studies.

After the USDA decided it could not publish the report in 2016 and 2017 due to budget constraints, SAF initiated a strategic advocacy campaign to resume the publication of the report to provide the floriculture industry with the critical information it needs.

SAF thanks other industry organizations that supported the effort to secure publication of the 2018 report. The coalition included the American Society for Horticultural Science, AmericanHort, CalFlowers, the California Cut Flower Commission, the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association, and the Produce Marketing Association.

Shawn McBurney is the Society of American Florists’ senior director of government relations. safnow.org.