“We just started harvesting St. Patty’s Day cabbage last week, a little earlier than normal,” Lytch said. “The cold weather we recently had was no problem for the cabbage and broccoli, but the frost got a little potatoes. It should only set them back a week to 10 days.”
Participants also toured Spice World Inc. in Orlando.
Labor concerns took center stage during a March 2 educational session.
“Since we’re so close to the Kennedy Space Center, Houston, we’ve got a problem with the labor supply issue,” said Craig Regelbrugge, vice president of government relations and research for the Washington, D.C.-based American Nursery & Landscape Association. “But we’ve had a problem for years. It’s getting more acute with the state laws mandating E-verify in places like Georgia and Alabama.
“In the Southeast, you don’t have to go too far to talk about states where leaders in the states have passed legislation that shoots agriculture in the foot, if not a more sensitive piece of the anatomy.”
During the March 2 keynote luncheon, former Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz told attendees they have no chance to succeed if they don’t believe in themselves. He gave them some practical advice they could apply to their businesses.
“You’re not just growing or selling a product,” Holtz said. “You’re to satisfy the needs of your customers and make a profit. There are a lot of changes in the industry. Always embrace change. Peoples’ needs change and businesses don’t always change to meet their customers’ needs.”