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Nursery Industry Hit Hard

The California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers (CANGC) announced today that combined impacts of the homebuilding collapse, recession, drought, and other factors hit hard in 2008-2009 to reduce annual farm-gate sales of nursery products by California nurseries by $688,000,000 to $3.3 billion compared to $4.0 billion in 2007-2008. The industry is down 17.5%, according to Hoy Carman, an agricultural economist at University of California, Davis. The year-to-year decline broke a 15-year record of uninterrupted sales growth dating back to 1993.

California retail sales of lawn and garden products, including nursery items, also declined $1.6 billion (a 12% drop) to $11.7 billion, and nursery production and retailing lost an estimated 25,492 jobs in 2008-2009, employing 192,065 Californians compared to 217,557 in 2008-2009 (off 11.7%).

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Landscapers, businesses, municipalities and homeowners all reduced their spending on nursery products in response to cessation of new construction, sharply reduced home values, loss of jobs, rising unemployment, and reduced incomes, according to Carman.

Regulatory actions and invasive pest quarantines were also factors in the declines for nurseries.  “California nurseries’ share of agricultural output for California dropped from 12.5% to 9.1% of the total for all agricultural commodities as a result of a nearly perfect storm of recessionary pressures, natural events, and adverse court decisions that blocked water deliveries to growers and urban nursery customers alike,” according to CANGC Executive VP Robert Dolezal. “Now we begin the long process of rebuilding our lost production and sales as the economy starts to turn around and the drought’s impacts lessen,” Dolezal said.

Carman’s report is the latest in a series of previous annual studies of California’s nursery and floral sector. Nursery and floral crops each typically rank within the top 10 California crops. Combined nursery and floriculture ranked second overall in 2008-2009, exceeded only by milk and cream sales. 

The California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers was founded in 1911 as a statewide trade organization for production nurseries, retail garden centers, and their suppliers. It is headquartered in  Sacramento, California. The Association is the primary advocate for the California nursery community, providing representation in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

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December 8, 2019, 8:57 am PDT

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