While exhibiting at New England Grows and MANTS, I spoke with many individuals across all facets of our industry. These conversations compelled me to share what I heard, and have also seen for myself, about the state of our industry today. From these talks, I know many of you are aware, too, that there is a tree shortage going on. However, even though 2.5” and 3” trees are almost non-existent, I am receiving more quotes for larger jobs than in previous years. There will need to be a generous amount of flexibility with these because there will not be enough of certain trees to supply demand. I have also seen prices creeping up. This is no surprise since basic economics tells us when supply is low and demand is high, prices increase. 2017 will be an interesting year. I believe relationships at all levels and a positive outlook will be critical factors for success. Since our entire industry is affected by this, not just one company or one geographic area, we all need to pull together, think outside the box and work cohesively to get our jobs done. I personally feel 2018 will show signs of inventory coming back. There will be some tight spots but, as a whole, I think the pain will ease and start the road to recovery. The big question will then be, “What did I learn from this struggle?”
In addition to the recent trade shows, I also attended the mid-Atlantic Short Course in Virginia Beach 2 weeks ago. It was an excellent conference with relevant courses. Attendance was high and the classes were full of positive information. For me, the biggest take away was that Abby Farms is right on track with our mission of sustainability. The majority of the conference was in one way or another tied to the practice of being sustainable. A recent survey revealed the top 3 characteristics that millennials were looking for in companies with which they do business. Whether landscape and maintenance, food scape, storm water management or Permaculture, the common thread was that they wanted to do business with a company that practices sustainability. There is a large movement toward this and rightfully so.
All of this exposure around the industry over the last 2 months has me believing 2017 will be tough. But, overall, our industry is healthy and thriving; especially with the struggles we had several years back. It is refreshing to see the comeback!