It is an exciting time to be in the floral industry, and I am looking forward to serving as the AFE Chairman of the Board for the next two years.
It looks like supplies have stabilized for floriculture products both in domestic and international markets. Retailers – namely, florists, supermarkets and big boxes – are doing well. Data predicts a growth of 2-3% in the near future for the ornamental market.
Through industry support, AFE continues its mission to fund even more floriculture research, internships, scholarships and programs that solve industry challenges and strengthen the industry.
In partnership with the Society of American Florists, AFE is now reviewing and recommending projects for funding through the Floral and Nursery Research Initiative (FNRI). SAF’s major success this year of increasing the funding by $1 million was a huge win for the industry. With this additional allocation, $250,000 will be available for flower research. The Endowment looks forward to continuing to provide our resources to advise SAF and the USDA on the floriculture industry’s greatest challenges and priorities.
Another AFE priority is addressing the lack of focus on cut flower research within Universities Since the 1990’s, universities have reallocated funds away from cut flowers onto other areas. As a result, the number of cut flower research departments has gone from eight to less than one.
Our goal is to build programs that focus on cut flowers in two to three universities. In addition, we will continue to support floral potted and bedding plant research, so our future remains strong. We hope these plans will help the floriculture industry to produce new information and technology and encouraging knowledgeable people to join our industry.
To further secure the future of the industry, AFE has great plans to strengthen our scholarship and internship programs and introduce more young people to our industry. These efforts will result in more qualified growers, wholesalers and retailers, and will supply our businesses with the top talent we need. We’ll also remain focused on creating new educational resources and programs to strengthen the floral industry as a whole.
Making a large impact on the future of the floriculture industry is a very attainable goal for AFE, and we are grateful to the supporters and those participating in these programs for the good of the industry. If you aren’t supporting AFE, consider it. Your contributions truly make a difference.
VP of Floralife & Research at Smithers-Oasis/Floralife
Chairman, American Floral Endowment