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AFE Strengthens Bonds with Floral Funding Government Agencies

AFE Shares the Size, Complexity, and Importance of the Miami Import Cut Flower Businesses with USDA-ARS

By Dr. Terril Nell, AFE Research Coordinator

Floral and Nursery Research Initiative

USDA-ARS coordinates funding for the Floral and Nursery Research Initiative (FNRI), a federally funded program dedicated to floriculture, nursery and landscape research. Recently, AFE took the lead on the FNRI initiative providing recommendations and identifying priorities. To further strengthen the importance of this funding, we headed down to Miami to show USDA-ARS National Program Leader, Tim Reinhardt what we’re all about!

AFE spent the day showing Dr.Reinhardt the size, complexity, and importance of fresh cut flowers to the entire floral industry. AFE, in coordination with SAF, works with Dr. Reinhardt by identifying the research needs and priorities for the floral industry and recommends projects and researchers to receive FNRI funding. The importance of proper care and handling is best understood by seeing the handling of flowers first-hand and talking with industry leaders who face the challenges of maximizing flower quality and longevity daily.

Miami Import Tours

Jim Daly, AFE Chairman, and Terril Nell, AFE Research Coordinator, accompanied Dr. Reinhardt on the tour. The tour was arranged and coordinated by Steven Daum, Floralife Representative in Miami. Jim Daly introduced Dr. Reinheart to the floral industry with a brief presentation on the global and the U.S. cut flower industry, changes in the production, distribution and marketing channels in recent years and provided insight into future changes and needs of the industry.

The fast-paced tour provided Dr. Reinhardt an overview of the arrival and unloading of planes at the Miami airport, receipt and APHIS inspection, storage and distribution and visits with three major bouquet makers. Importers and bouquet makers represented sales to wholesale and retail florists, supermarkets, mass markets, and internet sales.

A visit to the Armellini Trucking facility in Miami and a meeting with David and Stephen Armellini provided the view of flowers as they are shipped from Miami to locations throughout the U.S. And, we were fortunate to meet with Christine Boldt, Executive Director of the Association of Floral Importers of Florida and the AFIF Board. This brief visit allowed Dr. Reinhardt an opportunity to meet some of the owners and leaders of this industry. This included a dinner with Bill Fernandez, CEO of Continental Flowers, and an AFE Board member.

Moving Forward

Now, when AFE talks to Dr. Reinhardt about the importance of cut flowers and the need for care and handling research, he will surely understand. We are grateful to all who opened their facilities and shared their stories and needs during our tour. Thank you to Steven Daum for arranging the tour.

AFE hopes to spend a day in 2020 with Dr. Reinhardt visiting cut and potted plant growers in California in an effort to provide continuing education about the floral industry.