ANLA and PLANET Evaluating Possible Merger

The American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) and the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) have announced that the two associations are evaluating a possible merger. This announcement follows seven months of discussions and exploration by a joint task force of volunteer leaders from both organizations. If adopted, this would be the second merger of national green industry associations in recent years. In 2004, PLANET was formed when the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) and the Professional Lawn Care Association of America (PLCAA) merged.

“With all the challenges and opportunities faced by the green industry, it makes sense for our national associations to be working smarter, not just harder,” says Peter Orum, ANLA president. “Bringing these two leading associations together would dramatically increase the industry’s lobbying profile in Washington, DC.”

“When PLANET was formed in 2004, our leadership hoped that it would be the first step in a process to expand the scope and capabilities of a single, larger national association for the industry,” explained Dan Foley, PLANET president. “These discussions with ANLA are an encouragement that ALCA and PLCAA were on to something.”

Combining PLANET and ANLA would result in a national association with annual revenues of more than $9 million and a staff of 48, a resource base that is larger than about 75 percent of all trade associations in the U.S. The combined membership of the two organizations would exceed 6,000.

The current memberships of the two associations are largely based in different sectors of the green industry. The merged association would represent business interests involved in the full spectrum of the industry, including agricultural nursery production, wholesale distribution, retail garden centers, landscape design and installation, lawn care, maintenance, and interior plantscape services. Both organizations have members involved in the landscape design/build sector, with approximately 150 companies holding membership in both PLANET and ANLA.

Initial discussions have identified merger benefits to include a larger member and financial resource base, a broader platform for delivering more educational and business services, expanded public outreach, and more political influence.

Both associations’ boards of directors have agreed to sign a letter of intent to merge. Agreement by ANLA’s delegate body, the ANLA Senate, is necessary for ANLA to move forward. If the ANLA Senate agrees at its meeting in July, then both organizations will begin a more formal and extensive evaluation. Depending on the evaluation’s conclusions, a final vote to merge by PLANET members and the ANLA Senate—with ANLA member input—would occur sometime this fall. A merger would likely take place some time in 2006.

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