Horticulture sales brings mixed results in Virginia

The USDA'S National Agricultural Statistics Service recently released the 2019 Census of Horticultural Specialties report, the only source of detailed production and sales data for floriculture, nursery, and specialty crops for the entire United States. The data show that horticulture operations in Virginia sold a total of $271 million in floriculture, nursery and specialty crops in 2019, down 16% from the sales in 2014. The number of horticulture operations in Virginia decreased 17% during this time to 465.

"First conducted in 1889, the horticulture census provides data on sectors for which there are no other comprehensive data sources," said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. "It is a valuable tool to highlight the contribution horticulture growers bring to our local, state, and national economies as well as changes in the industry over the past five years."

Highlights from the report include:

• Nursery stock: $71.6 million, up 8%

• Annual bedding/garden plants: $70.8 million, down 42%

• Sod, sprigs and plugs: $11.3 million, down 38%

• Potted flowering plants: $51.1 million, up 63%

• Potted herbaceous perennials: $29.6 million, up 2%

• Food crops under protection: $16.5 million, down 23%

Other key findings from the 2019 Census of Horticultural Specialties report include:

• Corporately-owned operations made up the largest number of operations, accounting for 44% of total operations and 84% of total sales ($227 million).

• Total industry expenses were down 1% since 2014, with labor being the largest cost, accounting for 38% of total expenses in 2019.

The Census of Horticultural Specialties is part of the larger Census of Agriculture program. It provides information on the number and types of establishments engaged in horticultural production, value of sales, varieties of products, production expenses and more. All operations that reported producing and selling $10,000 or more of horticultural crops on the 2017 Census of Agriculture were included in this special study.

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