AmericanHort Survey confirms critical state of labor for horticulture

AmericanHort Survey confirms critical state of labor for horticulture

Workforce development and labor availability is one of the most critical issues AmericanHort’s advocacy team works to address to better meet the needs of the green industry. The 2022 Greenhouse and Nursery Labor Employment Survey was conducted in collaboration between AmericanHort and researchers from the University of California, Davis and Michigan State University to help understand the depth of labor scarcity impacting the greenhouse and nursery sectors of the green industry.

The survey collected information about the prevalence of horticulture industry workforce shortages, how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted farming operations, and the extent to which labor-saving technologies are helping mitigate the problem. Responses came from a broad sample of greenhouse and nursery operations spanning the entire U.S.

“According to our survey results, the green industry is grappling with a workforce shortage problem. Despite making expensive technology investments and changes to production and labor management practices to deal with the issue, growers reported ongoing employee shortages and a significant need for a year-round H-2A visa program,” says Dr. Zachariah Rutledge, Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University.

Key survey findings include:

  • Nearly two thirds of survey respondents indicated that they were unable to hire all the employees they wanted during 2021. The average workforce shortage across the sample was nearly 20% of the workforce that growers needed to operate at full capacity.

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