Show in full swing

Cultivate’20 Virtual is as real as it gets this year

Cultivate'20 Virtual took off yesterday. In just 3 months, the AmericanHort team turned this 10,000 people event into a virtual event with more than 250 exhibitors. The organization is pleased to see that over 8,000 people registered for the virtual event, which goals is to create as much interaction as possible. "It is important that our 346 billion industry continues to conduct commerce, train and develop our employees, network with business peers and learn best practices so that we can thrive well into the future", says Ken Fisher, AmericanHort's President & Chief Executive Officer, in his welcome message when entering the virtual lobby of Cultivate'20.

The show will run for four days, till July 16 and will be open from 10am till 5pm (ET). On top of the show, All access pass holders will have access to the on demand and live educational courses, which will be available till September 1. 

The booth of Brandkamp. They were eager to present their products for the first time in Ohio and despite the physical show had to be cancelled, they decided to still participate. At their booth, they present their highlight; click here to see their highlights.

First day
8,000 industry members registered for Cultivate'20 Virtual and it is expected that the visits will be spread over the four exhibition days. On the first day, around 2,000 people were on the platform.

Each day will start with an open exhibit hall of 3D virtual booths, main stage programming, and will provide daily opportunities for networking and industry discussions and on demand and live educations sessions. The day will close with virtual social gatherings. Yesterday, the main stage presentation on the state of the industry was discussed was highly visited, with over 750 viewers and the day was closed with the Garden Party Thrive, organized by HRI. 


Also Agronomix is present at the show and is presenting a 3D-production and vertical hall, developed by Bosman van Zaal (AgriNomix is the dealer of Bosman van Zaal in the US). 

AmericanHort State of the Industry Presentation
Before presenting the state of the industry, the AmericanHort incoming Chairman Tom Hughes, with Hughes Nursery & Landscaping LLC, was introduced.

Also the outgoing and incoming board of Directors were announced, see below.

Ken Fish starts with presenting the state of the industry and refers to the White Paper, that he published together with Dr. Charlie Hall and Craig Regelbrugge, earlier this month. Key issues in this paper are:

  • Economy: We are in a recession.
  • Consumer Spending: But wait, we had a “record” season?
  • Recovery: What “shape” will it take and what will drive it?
  • Business Owner: What to watch for and how to plan.
  • Future Assessment: Cautiously Optimistic!

In the presentation, they highlighted topics out of this White Paper.


Craig Regelbrugge, Sr. Vice President AmericanHort, continued by looking back and gives a glimpse ahead. Among others, he explained that the industry was optimistic in winter. But then COVID-19 hit and ornamental growers were hit severely. In total, on production level, the industry losses is 732M USD to 1.2B USD. However, he stresses that it is important to educate the decision makers that not all businesses are equally impacted. A nursery/floricutlure decision will be taken soon, but he stresses that under best of outcomes, no one will be made whole for losses. "Any relief is better than none at all." 

Furthermore, he discussed the pandemic response regarding stimulus packages and so on and mentioned that, regarding labor, there will be darker clouds ahead for many. He concluded his presentation with a few things to celebrate, like that for most, spring ended strong, that they launched several programmes like Offshore Greenhouse Cert. Program, Systems Approach to Nursery Cert., they navigated a Ralstonia emergency program and HRI refreshed its strategic focus, and recently launched tHRIve. 

Dr. Charlie Hall, Chief Economist AmericanHort, discussed the nature and economic effects of the Great Shutdown, the shape of recovery and the green industry performance during and post COVID-19. From his presentation, it becomes clear that the crisis we are in is a spending crisis. "People normally spend 68 percent on services and the rest on goods. When comparing the spending changes of the great recession and COVID-19 period, that the decline in consumer consumption expenditure is the biggest for services, a lot bigger compared to durable and non-durable goods, which are not as low as in the other recession."It is the first recession that we've really cut back on services."

All in, it is shown that across the economy, just about anything used at home is seeing a lift (residential cocooning). How has it been for retail sales in our industry? As of week 24 (June 14) YTD sales were up 28.5%. But how will it continue post COVID? "When recovery usually starts people's spending on durable goods increase and historically we see that less spend on flowers and plants. However, it depends on how COVID will develop and also the spending on durable goods, because not as low as the other recession. 

Hall was happy to see a lot of promotion for the industry last spring, but according to him, it wasn't nearly enough and as the future is still uncertain, he hopes to see more of it soon. "Spread the "word" about the health and well-being of plants." On his website, he provides promotion materials.

For more information on the state of the industry, click here for the whitepaper.

tHRIive Garden Party
The day was concluded with the tHRIve garden party, organized by HRI. During this social gathering they share several short, intimate garden tours led by some of the most passionate growers in the business. They celebrated horticultural advances and have some special surprises and garden-inspired cocktail recipes to share. Below a little impression.


The HRI team


Seth and Sadie Reed were the official winners of our tHRIve Garden Party bartender showdown.


The first tour was in the garden of Jon Reelhorn, Belmont Nursery, Fresno, CA 

Second day
Today is the second day of Cultivate'20. Check out this page to see what's on schedule for today and for the coming days. Click here to see the list of exhibitors.

Haven't registered yet, click here to register and click here for the attendee guide.


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