From the tractor
by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
Greenhouse Grower magazine recently released its list of top 100 growers in the United States and four North Carolina greenhouse and nursery operations were included. This speaks well for our greenhouse industry, and is a reflection on the health of our state’s green industry as a whole.
Making the list are Metrolina Greenhouses of Huntersville at No. 6, Van Wingerden International of Mills River at No. 47, Rockwell Farms of Rockwell at No. 54 and Baucom’s Nursery of Charlotte at No. 81.
It is impressive to make the list, but it is also a good sign that Metrolina, Van Wingerden and Baucom’s Nursery also moved up in their rankings from 2016, signifying growth in their individual businesses.
Two other U.S. companies on the list also have large operations in Western North Carolina, which contribute to their success. Those include No. 2 on the list, Costa Farms based out of Florida, and Youngs Plant Farm based in Alabama, which is No. 40 on the list.
It is not surprising to find this kind of business diversification given the great production climate our state has, and its central location that makes for easy distribution along the East Coast.
The article noted that the businesses on the list represent 60 percent of the industry, based on the 409 million square feet of total greenhouse space included on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2015 Floriculture Crops Summary.
North Carolina’s greenhouse sector of the industry fared better during the recession, but the rest of the green industry took a significant hit as housing starts and sales dropped, and consumers scaled back their spending on plants and landscaping.
I am happy to see the green industry rebounding, but we are not back to where we were during the industry’s peak in 2006-2007. With the strong return of home sales, I am optimistic that we will see continued growth in all sectors of the green industry. Congratulations to these businesses for being recognized nationally.