Despite more than two-billion-dollars in losses from the 2004-2005 hurricane seasons…a new report finds ‘environmental horticulture’ continues to grow faster than all other agricultural industries in Florida. Plants you’d find at a garden center or nursery are the backbone of environmental horticulture. Add to that landscape design, installation and maintenance and you’ve got an industry that generates more jobs than any other segment of Ag in the Sunshine State…and more economic impact than all but Florida’s lumber industry. According to a new University of Florida survey, the economic impact from the industry grew at nearly 8-percent annually over the past 5 years to around 15-billion-dollars last year.
The study’s co-author, U-F researcher Alan Hodges, says big chain stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s have driven most of that growth.
“More than any other type of outlet they are the ones that have relentlessly driven down prices for plant products and made them much more affordable for the average person.”
Hodges says the trend is a mixed blessing for the industry…more customers, but much tighter competition. And while production costs are up, especially for fuel – he says the environmental horticulture industry in Florida shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
You might think citrus is the Sunshine State’s biggest agricultural industry…but that’s not the case. It’s third - behind lumber and landscaping. And according to a new University of Florida survey, landscaping…or what’s called ‘environmental horticulture’…might someday be number one. Environmental horticulture includes everything from plants sold at nurseries to landscape design and maintenance. Last year it was worth more than 15-billion-dollars to Florida’s economy, and has grown faster than all other segments of agriculture in the state over the past 5 years. U-F agriculture researcher Alan Hodges says it may even represent the future...
“Eventually some of these other types of agriculture that depend on more extensive use of land are going to be diminished because of the competition for land by urban development. I mean there isn’t any part of agriculture that can compete with the kinds of land prices that developers are bidding these days.”
Hodges says environmental horticulture can co-exist with urban areas. The state’s biggest regions for the industry are Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa-St. Petersburg.
Sunday, 01 October 2006 01:00
Environmental HorticultureWritten by WGCU Newsroom