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Labor named biggest challenge for North American growers

When engaging with growers and suppliers at the Cultivate show, it becomes evident that labor is the primary hurdle currently faced by the horticultural industry, leading to a high demand for automation solutions. "The younger generation seems to have little interest in the horticultural industry and is reluctant to engage in seasonal work."

Shortage of knowledge and availability
Both the cost and availability of skilled labor pose significant difficulties for growers in the North American market. "There is a shortage of individuals with knowledge of growing and the greenhouse industry," states a supplier, and this issue has been further exacerbated by the lack of suitable regulations for seasonal workers in the US.

Labor costs have increased, as have the costs of utilities such as pots, potting soil, and fertilizers. While logistic costs may have decreased over the last 12 months, they still remain considerably higher compared to pre-pandemic times. Additionally, combined with general inflation and retailers' reluctance to increase retail prices, profit margins within the industry have slimmed.

However, horticulture has always been an industry of innovation and finding solutions. Growers are investing in automation to reduce their reliance on labor and lower labor costs. Alternatively, they are adjusting their cultivation practices by reducing the number of crop rotations and cultivations required.

The Cultivate event started on Saturday, and the trade show opened its doors Sunday, where more than 650 exhibitors showcased their products and services. Our team is present at the front and will publish a photo report later on - but here's a preview!

Aaron Archibald and Dil Vashi with CO2 Grow. Read more about their products here.

Eric Lekkerkerk, Robert de Vries, Mark Thomas, and Martin Nugteren with Klasmann USA, presenting new soil solutions.

Josh Houwelingen and Darren Murray with ETgrow, offering Sense and Protect, Growing Analytics.

Steve Collins with Freshlight. FreshLight introduces a new UV C boom light. It will eliminate viruses, pathogens, and bacteria. Greatly reduce your plant loss, and mitigate insects.