The national USDA survey of flower farms that provides the industry with vital information about production and trends, and gauges its economic impact, will be conducted again this year beginning in December.
The survey was not conducted for the last two years due to budgetary constraints at USDA’s NASS program. Leaders from the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) and a team of farmers from Certified American Grown program flew to Washington, D.C., and met with USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Administrator Hubert Hammer [article link: http://www.americangrownflowers.org/americas-flower-farmers-must-continue-to-lobby-congress/] and members of the U.S. Senate earlier this year to encourage the administration and Congress to reinstate this important annual report.
“This report provides our farms and our industry with a baseline of data that highlights just how valuable our farms and flowers are to their state and the economy,” explained Kasey Cronquist, CEO & ambassador of CCFC and administrator of Certified American Grown. “The successful effort to reinstate this report highlights just how important our efforts are in Washington, D.C., and that we can and do make a difference when farmers come together. Now we need everyone to stay engaged and most importantly, participate in the survey.”
CCFC and Certified American Grown also worked in coalition with American Hort and the Society of American Florists to help raise the awareness of this issue on Capitol Hill.
The survey is a census of about 10,000 commercial floriculture operations that annually produce and sell at least $10,000 worth of fresh cut flowers, potted flowering plants, foliage plants, annual bedding and garden plants, herbaceous perennials, cut cultivated florist greens, propagative floriculture material and unfinished plants. Annual sales include retail and wholesale sales.
The survey provides the number of farmers, area of production, quantity sold, percent of sales at wholesale, wholesale prices, wholesale value of production for floriculture commodities and average number of agricultural workers per farm or ranch.
The USDA first started collecting data on the nation’s floriculture industry in 1956. The report, called the Commercial Floriculture Survey, has grown to cover six floriculture categories in the 17 main flower-producing states and more than 50 separate crops.
NASS says the survey provides an important snapshot of the industry and helps growers plan for the future.
“Technology has changed production practices and tissue culture propagation has accelerated production,” NASS says on its website. “New products are being developed every year. To keep abreast of the rapidly changing industry, growers and suppliers need data. Individual growers can compare their own operation to other operations to help identify state and national trends as they plan the future of their business. These estimates are also used to support industry claims in cases involving unfair trade practices and in trade negotiations.”
The federal government uses the data to gauge the industry’s economic impact. Sales of floriculture crops have exceeded $5 billion annually, which NASS calls “a significant contribution to farm income and the gross domestic product.”
NASS will collect data from growers by mail, phone, online and through personal interviews. The Commercial Floriculture Survey will be mailed to farms on Dec. 14. Enumerators from NASS will be visiting farms and calling farmers to help complete the survey from Dec. 31 through Feb. 8.
The reference period is the preceding year. The data will be published in the Floriculture Crops report on May 8, 2019.
The information provided by growers will be used for statistical purposes only and no identifying details of respondents will be disclosed.
In the last survey, which covered 2015, the nation’s total floriculture crop value was estimated at $4.37 billion, up from $4.20 billion for 2014. California was the leading producer with 685 operations producing crops valued at $1.08 billion, followed by Florida at $1.03 billion. Those two states accounted for 49 percent of the nation’s floriculture crop value. Rounding out the top five states were Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio.