Florida Nursery and Landscape Industry’s Impact on Economy Soars

Florida nursery and landscape industry sales soared to a record $15.2 billion last year despite being pummeled by the eight major hurricanes that hit the Sunshine State in 2004 and 2005. This staggering 54-percent increase in just five years eclipsed the $9.9 billion in 2000 sales reported by the previous University of Florida-IFAS economic impact study.

“This study showcases the nursery and landscape industry as one of Florida’s most robust economic engines,” said Ben Bolusky, FNGLA’s executive vice president. “Florida’s nursery and landscape industry is comprised overwhelmingly of family farms and businesses,” Bolusky said. “It is truly a small business industry with a big business impact on Florida’s economy.”

Florida’s nursery and foliage growers generated $3 billion in farm gate sales in 2005, clearly positioning Florida as the nation’s second largest nursery crop production state after California. Nearly half of all nursery grower sales were to markets outside Florida.

Landscape installation, maintenance and design services represented $5.26 billion in sales, while the garden center retail segment racked up sales of $6.97 billion. Total sales impacts were highest in the counties of Miami-Dad, Palm Beach, Orange, Hillsborough, Broward, Pinellas, Duval, Volusia, Lee and Lake.

In the aftermath of the 2004 and 2005 hurricanes, 60 percent of Florida’s nursery growing operations suffered costly business interruptions for at least three weeks. Business for nearly a quarter of all of Florida’s nurseries was interrupted for four months or more. The 2004 and 2005 hurricanes hit the industry hard with an estimated $2.1 billion in nursery crop losses, structural damage and clean-up costs.

“To have an industry grow so expansively in the face of the recent tropical punches thrown by Mother Nature is a true testimonial to the resiliency of the hardworking professionals in Florida’s nursery and landscape industry,” said FNGLA president Paul Polomsky.

The Florida nursery and landscape industry’s total employment impact increased by 131,000 jobs in the last five years, representing an average annual increase of 11 percent. It directly employs 294,000 people statewide with a value-added impact of $5.19 billion in wages and salaries. Total employment impacts were highest in the counties of Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Orange, Hillsborough, Broward, Duval, Volusia, Pinellas, Lee and Lake.

The industry’s economic impacts were evaluated and compared with results from the previous 1997 and 2000 studies, also conducted by the University of Florida-IFAS. Each study was funded in part by the Farm Credit Associations of Florida. For a complete version of the 40-page economic impact report, visit http://economicimpact.ifas.ufl.edu. For the FNGLA’s Executive Summary, visit www.fngla.org.

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