In January I started my term as the North and Central Regional Director and have been spending some time getting familiar with the membership numbers. I’m sure you are all aware the number of flower farmers is exploding. I know this is true in Minnesota as there are new farms emerging all around me. I hear this scenario from flower farmers in other states, too, and the increase in demand for seeds and other farming and gardening supplies is another telltale sign.
Each issue of The Cut Flower Quarterly lists all the new members who have joined the organization since the previous issue, and it’s the first thing I glance at when the Quarterly arrives. I love to see names of people I know who have joined, and it helps me know what new farmers might be entering the market in my region.
One thing all farmers should do is become familiar with other flower farms in their market and do a little research about what they are selling and to whom. This information can be obtained from websites and social media posts to a large extent, but if you have the opportunity to get to know some of your “competition” you might be able to form some mutually beneficial relationships. You are bound to find out that each farm has a different niche, target market, or unique products or services, and it may help you decide where to focus your efforts and how to differentiate your business in the marketplace. While it can be upsetting to see new farms pop up in your market, keep in mind that cooperation vs. competition is most likely the best strategy.
When I joined the ASCFG in 2015 there were only about 800 total members. Today there are over 2,400. The North and Central Region has 568 members or about 24% of the total ASCFG membership. The North and Central Region has experienced the largest increase in new members of any region over the past five years. After all, we are the heartland!
I thought you might find the following North and Central member numbers by state interesting (as of March 8, 2021):
North Dakota 7
South Dakota 5
The growing list of new members confirms what we already know—flower farming is trendy right now and continues to attract new farmers. As this trend continues, be aware of new farms, do your research, differentiate yourself, and look for ways to collaborate or at least share some flowers. You might make some great friends along the way. I know I have.