News and Events

Departments - Industry News

October 13, 2015

DOL’s overtime exemption proposal could double certain salaries

AmericanHort, along with the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity (PPWO), submitted comments recently to the U.S. Department of Labor regarding the proposed rule that changes the criteria for the executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employee exemptions from the overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under its “white collar” overtime exemptions, DOL proposes raising the minimum salary threshold to $970 per week ($50,440 annually).

The proposed annual salary minimum for an executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employees (known as the “white collar” or “EAP” exemptions) is more than double the current level. The proposed EAP minimum will mean that many, possibly most, current salaried managers and supervisors in many industries and many parts of the country may revert from being salaried employees to hourly employees.

The National Retail Federation reports that employers could face increases in labor and administrative costs, and consumers would experience higher prices for goods and services, as well as diminished customer service. Read more here:


Letter to the editor

The article on commercial marijuana production is incomplete. [See cover story, August Nursery Management] What you are missing is its Achilles heel. The venture is described as potentially lucrative. What is true is that if the free market gets a hold of the opportunity, and all of us thirsty and super competitive nurseryman get their fingers in the pie, then like the rest of the industry, margins will be slim and those described profits will go up in smoke.

Until that happens, I suspect the “lucky” few who are granted monopoly status, will be able to use those excess profits to subsidize their existing nursery products. That ability is certain to further depress prices for the rest of us. Being granted a cannabis growing license is simply a huge government subsidy to a select few. It will only take a few years and those of us without that subsidy will be out of business. The supply for house and garden plants will be in whose hands then?

It is really quite interesting to see our industry, which is so supportive and encouraging to its thousands of small business entrepreneurs, ignoring this threat to their prosperity and ultimate survival. My arithmetic skills tell me that only a couple of billion of the many billions of dollars described as available, will be enough to dramatically alter the competitive balance and turn our profits into losses. Ahh but perhaps the taxpayer will come to our rescue.

Indeed persons of influence like yourself, should be firstly investigators and then whistle blowers.

There must be some reason that big pharma is not getting into the cannabis business. Perhaps they are counting on us doing the dirty work for them. They don’t call it “weed” for nothing!

Kind regards,
John Albers | General Manager
Amerigo Farms, Zellwood, Florida
Homestead Growers,
Vineland, Ontario, Canada

We welcome your letters and feedback. Please send letters to editor Kelli Rodda at



Researchers team up to protect roses

People should be able to stop and smell the roses, not spray them, says David Byrne, Texas A&M AgriLife Research rose breeder in College Station.

Byrne is collaborating on two national studies to develop rose varieties that are resistant to diseases such as black spot and rose rosette. Byrne says researchers have longed for molecular markers that point to black spot resistant genes so they could be identified in the breeding process.

He hopes to have some markers within the five-year effort so that a progressive breeding effort will quickly begin producing resistant rose cultivars.

“With this technology, maybe we could essentially transform all the rose varieties to those that are resistant to disease — and not just well known diseases such as black spot but also to upcoming diseases such as rose rosette.”

Because of the seriousness of rose rosette to the industry, a second, five-year national research effort by some 20 scientists is targeting that disease specifically, says Byrne, who is leading the breeding component of that project.

“In this second project, we are also developing markers in trying to understand the rose rosette resistance, which we don’t know much about at the moment,” he says. “The first step is doing a lot of screening for rose rosette resistance.”

Read more here:


Therapeutic gardens need your votes

Voting is now open for the National Garden Bureau’s Growing for Futures Therapeutic Garden Grant. Started in 2014, Growing for Futures is a philanthropic program of the NGB that supports the building and growth of therapeutic gardens across North America. The first place winner will receive $5,000 from the program to enhance the garden’s works and continue its mission. Second and third place winners will receive $3,000 and $2,000 respectively for their gardens.

After reviewing the 25 applications submitted for the 2015 Therapeutic Garden Grant, NGB has narrowed the list of finalists to three gardening programs.

Those gardens are:

  • Cape Fear Botanical Garden in Fayetteville, N.C., which focuses on outreach to the area’s military population.
  • Green Chimneys Children’s Garden in Brewster, N.Y., an internationally recognized garden that offers an effective solution for healing and improving the lives of children struggling with a variety of social, emotional and behavioral challenges through nature-based therapies.
  • The Riverwood Conservancy Enabling Garden in Mississauga, Ontario, is the only therapeutic garden in the Greater Toronto area helping children and adults overcome physical, cognitive and emotional difficulties.

Online voting can be accessed at until October 31, 2015. Follow the voting and discussion on Twitter with #growingforfutures.


Sakata, Dümmen Orange reach deal

Sakata Seed America Inc. and Dümmen Orange NA Inc. have resolved disagreements that led each to notify ornamental growers and customers over the past several weeks about termination of the companies’ relationship.

The companies have agreed that Dümmen may continue to sell and ship all Sakata genetics through March 31, 2016, after which Dümmen will not be an authorized distributor of Sakata ornamentals.




22-23: GIE+EXPO,
Louisville, Ken.;

27: Proven Winners Roadshow,
St. Louis area;

29: NJNLA Landscape Conference,
Mount Laurel, N.J.;



3: Smart Marketing,
New Haven, Conn.;

6-9: ASLA Annual Meeting & Expo,

14: Native Plant Symposium,
Cincinnati, Ohio;


2-4: New England Grows,
Boston, Mass.;



6-8: MANTS,
Baltimore, Md.;

11-15: Green & Growin’,
Greensboro, N.C.;

11-13: CENTS,
Columbus, Ohio;

18-20: Next Level,
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.;

18-22: Mid-Atlantic Horticulture Short Course,
Virginia Beach;

20-22: TPIE,
Ft. Lauderdale;

21-22: Western Trade Show & Education,
Kansas City, Mo.;


If you’re hosting an upcoming horticulture event, please share it with managing editor Matt McClellan at