Coronavirus and the horticulture industry

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The threat of coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to impact activity around the world, and the controlled-environment greenhouse industry is no exception. Information is evolving by the day, and in some cases by the hour.

Here are some of the more recent updates that’s provided.

California Spring Trials

As of Friday morning, March 13, a large majority of breeders and host sites announced they were cancelling their attendance at California Spring Trials (CAST) this year. The first announcements were made by Sakata Seed America and Syngenta Flowers, and soon after came a flurry of others (as of this writing, Ball is the only company that has not yet pulled out). Be sure to keep checking and the Spring Trials registration page for updates, keeping in mind that not all CAST participants are directly connected to that page.

Other Industry Events

GreenTech Americas, which had been scheduled to take place in Mexico March 24-26, has moved to Aug. 25-27 due to the global spread of COVID-19. Meanwhile for hemp growers, the NoCo Hemp Expo, originally scheduled for late March in Denver, Co, has been rescheduled for Aug. 6-8.

In other industry event news:

The Light and Building Conference, which draws in international lighting manufacturers including those who make products for greenhouses, was postponed from its original start date of March 8 to a to-be-determined time frame in mid to late September
The National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association Spring Meeting is, for now, still scheduled to take place April 5-7 in Atlantic Beach, FL. Association leadership and staff are closely following developments and staying in contact with the host hotel and other organizations involved in the meeting to reduce any possible risk.
LightFair 2020, originally scheduled for May 3–7 in Las Vegas, has been postponed. New dates for the show are under consideration and will be announced once finalized.
Across the Industry

As you can imagine, organizations throughout the horticulture industry are being diligent in providing their members with updates. We talked with the AmericanHort team, and they are monitoring the latest updates from both a health and a policy perspective. In other news:

The Society of American Florists has posted an update that details how floral industry professionals are closely monitoring the situation in their local communities and at the wider national and global scale.
The team at, a Meister Media Worldwide (publisher of Greenhouse Grower) website, is tracking how coronavirus is affecting the specialty crops industry that includes outdoor fruit, nut, vegetable, and citrus operations. Here’s what they are seeing.
The United Fresh Production Association is staying on top of coronavirus as well. United Fresh has set up a Resources page on its website with links to Centers for Disease Control updates and tips, along with recommendations for how businesses can prepare. United Fresh has also issued a joint statement from United Fresh, PMA, and FMI: “There are no clinically confirmed cases of COVID-19 linked to the consumption of fresh produce or food sold through traditional retail outlets. As consumers select their produce, adhering to food safety guidance is critical. We encourage consumers to wash their hands, and wash and prepare their produce following FDA recommendations.”

Source and Photo Courtesy of Greenhouse Grower

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