Vicki Blayney | Jerney Studios

The demographic shift that’s playing out in America has a dramatic effect on the economy. The 78 million people who make up the baby boomer generation will continue to retire, allowing some 67 million gen Xers to take over. That’s a deficit of 11 million people. Perhaps the 83 million representatives of the millennials will fill in the gaps. We’re facing uncertain times. Who will buy our products? How must we change our marketing messages? But economist Charlie Hall says with uncertainty comes opportunity.

Most growers we surveyed for our annual State of the Industry report were not shaken by these uncertainties. Confidence in the growth of the market remained at 84 percent this year – same as 2015.

Respondents said the dollar value of sales in 2016 increased 58 percent compared with 2015, and about 65 percent expect sales to increase in 2017. Some 54 percent said profits were up this year over last year, and double-digit profit margin increases totaled 24 percent.

Approximately 72 percent raised prices in 2016, and 70 percent indicated they plan to raise prices next year. Way to dig in and make positive changes!

With seven years gone since the end of the Great Recession, it’s time to start thinking about the next downturn. Go to page 28 to find out when the next recession is expected to occur and how to prepare for it with more expert insight from Charlie Hall.

Succession planning is crucial to the survival of this industry. Yet more than half of the respondents in this year’s State of the Industry said they do not have a succession plan in place. Learn some of the reasons they gave, as well as advice on how to get started on page 34.

If you own or manage a wholesale nursery, whose primary business is the sale of trees, shrubs and perennials, and you didn’t receive a link to this year’s State of the Industry survey, please send an email to to be added to the list.