May 23, 2002
Green Pencil:
So who cares, anyway?

By Ken Nentwig, Researcher, Ridgetown College, University of Guelph

Numbers are as fundamental to the world of commerce as are trees and flowers to the horticultural industry. And yet, while it is evident that in Ontario the business of horticulture is a thriving one, it is a sector of our economy for which there is very little statistical information. We have extrapolated and made conclusions about the size and scope of our industry, but the reality is there are huge gaps in the information base upon which several billion dollars worth of horticulture industry depends each year. Who cares? Well, I do, as should we all, as statistical information is the guts of how you position and operate your business.

     For this reason, I am soliciting the participation of all business operators in an on-going province-wide study of the ornamental horticulture industry. The initial study will complete a survey of overall business activity for the year 1999. The first issue of this short but comprehensive survey was conducted earlier this year and readers may recall the survey form, which was included with the March 2000 issue of Landscape Trades. For whatever reason - bad timing, perhaps, or perhaps a failure on our part to communicate the importance of your participation - the response to our first attempt was disappointing and less than conclusive. We extend our thanks to those who did respond, and to those who have not yet done so, we are making an additional appeal for your cooperation.

     There are a number of critical unknowns in this sector of the economy. Information that does exist tends to be either inconclusive or presented in a non-meaningful forĀ­mat. Beyond the wholesale level, there is not enough information published to provide even a sense of the business activities in horticulture. We need accurate data and your participation in this process is important. While a response rate of 100 per cent is unrealistic, the more companies that participate, the more accurate, and thereĀ­fore, more relevant, our results will be.

     Industry statistics are of benefit to each business operator across the country. Please take the few minutes it requires to participate. All results will be held in the strictest of confidence.

     Oh yes - thanks for caring.