COMPUTER USE AMONG NURSERY AND GREENHOUSE OPERATIONS IN THE SOUTHERN UNITED STATES
From 2003 through 2009, the socioeconomics of nursery automation survey was conducted in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. A total of 215 growers were surveyed, and 204 were used for the purpose of this study. All growers surveyed were asked a series of survey questions to determine what nursery and greenhouse tasks were performed using computers. Survey results indicated that there are extensive and marked differences in computer use in nursery and greenhouse operations throughout the surveyed Southern states. The most frequently performed computer tasks were word processing (88.2%), communications (79.9%), Internet commerce (56.4%), and accounting and cost analysis (47.8%). The less frequently accomplished computer tasks were inventory management (30.5%), financial investment and analysis (23%), production scheduling (201.1%), and greenhouse production controls (13.2%). The most infrequently done computer tasks by nursery and greenhouse operations were digital imaging for disease diagnosis (11.8%), use of CDs for marketing (8.8%), barcoding (6.4%), and grading (2.5%). Official data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (2011) showed that 64% of crop farms in the United States have computer access, 61% own or lease computers, and 36% use computers for the farm business. Farms in the South, which includes all states in this study, reported computer access at 61%, own or lease of computers at 59%, and the use of computers for business at 31%. The increased availability and ease of use of computing devices such as tablets and smartphones should contribute to a marked increase in computer usage within the nursery and greenhouse industry. As computers become more widely used in the industry to aid in required tasks, firms can better allocate assets (i.e., labor) to help them operate in a more efficient manner, in turn, increasing profits and morale. Statistical results showed stability in the use of computers for word processing by the participating nurseries and greenhouses. However, there remained a sizeable portion of horticulture growers who did not use computers during the period under study. It is suggested that further econometric analysis be conducted to identify the significant factors enhancing or limiting the use of computers in horticultural operations. These factors will include, among others, the operational characteristics of the participating establishments and socioeconomic characteristics of its owners and operators.
Posadas, Benedict C. Randal Y. Coker, Christine H. Coker, Scott A. Langlois, and Patricia R. Knight. 2018. Computer Usage among Nursery and Greenhouse Operations in the Southern United States. Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Bulletin 1225, Mississippi State, Mississippi.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS OF OWNERS AND OPERATORS OF WHOLESALE NURSERIES AND GREENHOUSES IN THE SOUTHERN UNITED STATES
The socioeconomic characteristics of owners or operators were compiled from 215 participating nursery and greenhouse operations in eight Southern states. The socioeconomic data on owners or operators included gender, marital status, ethnic origin, age, formal education, nursery business experience, perceptions about the availability of labor and capital, and satisfaction of the current lifestyle. The participating owners or operators were primarily homogeneous regarding gender, marital status, and racial origin. Considerable heterogeneity was observed among them concerning age, education, and business experience. The majority of them were satisfied with their current lifestyle, except among those who operated large and mixed operations. Most of them expressed strong confidence in the availability of labor for the industry, but a considerable proportion was not certain about the labor supply. The majority of them felt assured about the availability of long-term and operating term capital for the industry. Small and nursery-only operations, however, expressed some concerns about the availability of capital for the industry.
Posadas, Benedict C. 2018. Socioeconomic Characteristics of Owners and Managers of Horticultural Operations in the Southern United States. Agricultural Research & Technology: Open Access Journal, 18(5), 556070. https://juniperpublishers.com/artoaj/ARTOAJ.MS.ID.556070.php
SOCIO-ECONOMIC DETERMINANTS OF THE LEVEL OF MECHANIZATION OF NURSERIES AND GREENHOUSES IN THE SOUTHERN UNITED STATES
As horticulture production increases over time, growers are expected to improve efficiency, adopt appropriate technologies, improve working conditions and workers’ safety, and enhance markets. Mechanization decisions are made to maximize production under a least-cost combination of inputs including mechanization. The objective of this paper is to determine the socioeconomic factors influencing the level of mechanization among nurseries and greenhouses. The results will provide more profound insights into the empirical relationships between the level of mechanization and the economic and technical characteristics of nurseries or greenhouses. Results will also describe the influences of owners' or operators’ characteristics on mechanization decisions. The level of mechanization shows the extent by which nurseries or greenhouses have currently mechanized each of the significant workers’ tasks involved in the production of horticulture products. A regression equation was estimated using the socioeconomic database collected from a survey of 215 randomly selected wholesale nurseries and greenhouses in eight Southern states. The regression results explained 69% of the variation in the level of mechanization among participating nurseries or greenhouses. Younger owners or operators tend to approve of higher mechanization in horticulture operations. Significant differences in the levels of mechanization were observed among owners or operators with different levels of formal educational attainment. Workers’ tasks in greenhouse-only operations tend to be more mechanized than nursery-only operations. Workers’ tasks in operations with higher annual gross sales were more mechanized than smaller operations. The shortage of permanent or part-time workers would encourage owners or operators to shift to more mechanized horticulture production activities. Corporate-run horticulture organizations provided more mechanization options for their workers than the other business operations.
Posadas, Benedict C. 2018. Socioeconomic Determinants of the Level of Mechanization of Nurseries and Greenhouses in the Southern United States. AIMS Agriculture and Food, 3(3): 229-245.
CURRENT MECHANIZATION PRACTICES AMONG GREENHOUSE AND NURSERY OPERATIONS IN SELECTED GULF SOUTH STATES
From 2003 through 2009, the socioeconomic survey of nursery automation was conducted in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. We surveyed 215 growers, and 127 were used for the purpose of this study (75 mixed operations and 53 greenhouse-only operations). All participating growers were asked a series of questions to determine the types of automation or mechanization employed in the performance of 10 major greenhouse tasks: media preparation, container filling, cutting and seed collection, cutting and seed preparation, sticking cuttings and planting seed, environmental control, harvesting, and grading production, fertilizer application, pesticide application, and irrigation application and management.
Coker, Randal Y., Benedict C. Posadas, Scott A. Langlois, Patricia R. Knight, and Christine H. Coker. 2014. Current Mechanization Systems Among Greenhouse and Mixed Nursery/Greenhouse Operations. Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Bulletin 1208, Mississippi State, Mississippi.
HIRING PREFERENCES OF NURSERIES AND GREENHOUSES
This work describes workers’ socioeconomic characteristics and evaluates the determinants of workers hiring decisions among 215 randomly selected wholesale nurseries and greenhouses located in eight selected southern states in the United States. The participating nurseries and greenhouses employed on average 5.40 permanent workers per horticulture operation or 2.27 permanent workers per acre under cultivation. Participating nurseries and greenhouses hired an average of 2.38 part-time workers per horticulture operation or 0.80 part-time workers per acre placed under production. Empirical models were estimated to determine the significant factors affecting hiring decisions by this industry. Hiring decision models covered age groups, racial backgrounds, formal education levels, and gender. Analysis of the decision-making process involving the employment of hired workers among the participating wholesale nurseries and greenhouses provided insights into the hiring decisions in the industry. The hiring decisions by demographic characteristics serve as benchmarks for assessing the impacts of regulations affecting the industry in the near future. About 1.9% of all the establishments employed more than 50 permanent and part-time workers and 1.4% employed more than 50 permanent workers.
Posadas, Benedict C., Patricia R. Knight, Christine H. Coker, Randal Y. Coker, and Scott A. Langlois. 2014. Hiring Preferences Of Nurseries And Greenhouses In Southern United States. HortTechnology, 24(1):107-117.
ECONOMIC IMPACT OF MECHANIZATION ON NURSERIES AND GREENHOUSES
Workers in participating wholesale nurseries and greenhouses in eight southern states perform about one-fifth of their main tasks with some form of mechanization. The increase in total workers' earnings associated with improved mechanization indicated that nurseries and greenhouses were able to pay their workers higher wages and salaries. The increased levels of mechanization produced neutral effects on employment and raised the value of the marginal productivity of labor, implying that technology adoption by wholesale nurseries and greenhouses did not displace any worker but instead improved total workers' earnings.
Posadas, Benedict C. 2012. Economic Impacts of Mechanization or Automation on Horticulture Production Firms Sales, Employment, and Workers’ Earnings, Safety, and Retention. HortTechnology, 22(3): 388-401.
CURRENT MECHANIZATION SYSTEMS AMONG NURSERY-ONLY AND MIXED OPERATIONS
While irrigation management, chemical application, and plant pruning are somewhat automated or mechanized, growers have opportunities to apply new or different technology. For instance, plant transportation throughout the nursery and plant placement in the field utilize little mechanization. Therefore, new or existing technology may be applied. Substrate mixing, container filling, and planting are also areas where automation or mechanization might be implemented or modified to help increase production.
Coker, Randal Y., Benedict C. Posadas, Scott A. Langlois, Patricia R. Knight, and Christine H. Coker. 2010. Current Mechanization Systems Among Nurseries and Mixed Operations. Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Bulletin 1189, Mississippi State, Mississippi.
SOCIOECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS OF WORKERS IN NURSERIES AND GREENHOUSES
Although there were variations from grower to grower, the industry peak season covered the months starting in February and ending in May. During peak months, working hours averaged 9.1 hours a day or 51.5 hours per week. During slack months, workers averaged 7.1 hours a day or 36.1 hours per week. The average wage rate reported by nurseries and greenhouses was $7.89 per hour. Most of the workers had access to rest and lounging areas, sanitation facilities, and drinking water. Nurseries and greenhouses provided their workers' limited housing benefits, dental and medical insurance, and retirement benefits.
Posadas, Benedict C., Patricia R. Knight, Christine H. Coker, Randal Y. Coker, and Scott A. Langlois. 2010. Socioeconomic Characteristics of Workers and Working Conditions in Nurseries and Greenhouses in the Northern Gulf of Mexico States. Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Bulletin 1182, Mississippi State, Mississippi.
OPERATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF NURSERIES AND GREENHOUSES
When growers made production decisions, one of the most crucial elements in the process was the choice of which plant sizes to grow. These decisions had serious implications on the labor, materials, and supplies that would be required to operate efficient production lines. The five most commonly produced liner products included 2-, 3-, 4-, 6-, and 8-inch pots and liners in 18-and 36-cell trays. The top five potted products most frequently selected by the growers included plants in 1-, 3-, 5-, 7-, and 15-gallon pots. The participating nursery and greenhouse growers in the northern Gulf of Mexico states mostly preferred plants in 10-inch baskets to other basket sizes.
Posadas, Benedict C., Patricia R. Knight, Christine H. Coker, Randal Y. Coker, and Scott A. Langlois. 2010. Operational Characteristics of Nurseries and Greenhouses in the Northern Gulf of Mexico States. Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Bulletin 1184, Mississippi State, Mississippi.