Welcome To 2020

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Welcome to 2020 – a New Year and a New Decade which promises great accomplishment and progress for our industry, our world…and ourselves! 

Like rings on a tree or the deepening lines on my forehead, we mark our time on this earth by the years and decades behind us and in front of us. The future is always intriguing and exciting.  At AmericanHort our staff and Board of Directors have been working hard to build the capabilities and programs that will help our members navigate the challenges of the next decade so our industry can perform better, improve faster, and be prepared of the future ahead of us. 

We live in a period of extended economic prosperity. The 2010’s marks the first time ever, the U.S. started and ended a decade without a recession. We can debate the strength of the economy, continued economic inequality, policies that have helped or hurt the economy, difficulty in finding good workers – but we start 2020 in an enviable economic position.  What will the economy do and will we be ready? 

This year’s Presidential election, and probably the other two in this decade, will be marked by greater partisan divide than we’ve experienced in the recent past and growing rhetoric and policy split among our major candidates. President Trump has only been tweeter-in-chief for three years – and how we view politics and politicians has changed. How will these elections and politics shape our world and our industry, and will we be ready? 

Consumers continue to drive our economy and our industry. Their buying patterns, evolving channels of product distribution, changing preferences for new products and services, and desire for personalized content delivered at an ever-increasing rate are creating an inflection point in consumer products and services. Amazon Prime, Netflix, and grocery delivery will impact our society, consumers, and ultimately our industry. They are reshaping consumer preferences and expectations. Garden Retail, Big Box, Online – what will happen to brick and mortar retail and front door logistics and will we be ready? 

Because of the strength and stability of the economy, many of us have been able to focus not only on running our businesses, but also the organization and our people. At AmericanHort a new HR Leaders Group has been formed to tackle tough organizational issues. Our industry is beginning to appreciate the value of investing in culture to strengthen our businesses and retain talent. And as the industry generational transfer marches along, we have renewed focus on the many facets of succession planning and an orderly transition of our industry. The industry will look different in the next ten years. Will we be ready? 

If you’re not finding ways to keep up with technology, the next decade might be a challenge. The official terms are cloud-based, automatic speech recognition, and natural language understanding. We know that smart devices are getting smarter with the help of Siri, Alexa and their voice-activated friends. Appliances, plugs, switches, cameras, cars, and about every other piece of consumer gadgetry will have these technologies embedded and at your command. Can we harness this power – and other artificial intelligence and virtual reality – to benefit our industry and companies?  Will we be ready? 

In the last decade we were introduced to Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram (TikTok anyone?)  Growth and influence of these social media platforms has transformed our entire society.  From consumerism, to fashion, to entertainment, to politics, to global affairs – like it or not social media impacts your world. It is almost unimaginable how this platform might be used for good and evil in this decade.  Will it benefit our industry and will we be ready? 

The Farm Bill passed in 2018 ushered in legalized hemp and our industry is abuzz with the promise of new markets and gold-rush riches. This year and the new decade will separate the successful from the rest as many are already finding the challenges and pitfalls of a new product, underdeveloped markets, and an immature industry to be a difficult path. But a new market for horticulture capacity and resources, with new potentially strong product sales and margins, with cash-rich outside investors, and attractive look to the next generation? What could go wrong?  

I could play this game all day long. Plant health and genetics, tariffs and taxes, plant-based burgers, environmental trends, etc. I am intrigued, energized, and excited about this new decade – and you should be too. At AmericanHort, we are looking at every one of these issues to find programming and solutions to help our industry Perform Better, Grow Faster, and Prepare for a new decade. Our advocacy team is leading the way on issues and influence to protect and advance our industry in D.C. and in key states. Cultivate’20 promises to be the best yet with an entire educational track dedicated to Hemp, a new HR workshop to help you recruit, develop and retain your best employees, and a Culture worshop to give you the tools to build the organization you need to be prepared for whatever the future holds. We are planning new events for the fall to include new educational conferences, leading industry tours, webinars, and exciting ways to grow and improve your business. These are just the first installments on a decade of industry investment from AmericanHort. 

As an AmericanHort member, I appreciate the support and engagement with your industry association.  What we do together matters, and we’ll work together to ensure the industry is ready for the future.  

Happy New Year! 

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