2021 Farwest Show seminars highlight labour challenges and automation opportunities in the nursery industry

PORTLAND, USA: The 2021 Farwest Show, set for August 18–20 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon, has scheduled three seminars focused on labour and automation in the nursery industry.

These sessions will help business owners and executive-level mangers make informed decisions about corporate investments in labour and technology. Attendees of Farwest — the biggest green industry trade show in the West — can use the information to determine the right balance between physical labor and automation for their unique operations.

All three sessions will take place on Thursday August 19:

  • Anthony LeBude, Ph.D., associate professor of nursery crops and extension research at North Carolina State University, will present “LEAP into Sustainable Automation” from 8:30–9:30 a.m.
  • From 9:45–10:45 a.m., Terra Nova Nurseries grower consultant Dan Heims will present “Hortitechnology: New Tools for Horticulture.”
  • Later in the day, wafla Visa Division Director Ryan Ogburn will present “H-2A for Oregon: Overcoming the Hurdles” from 2:30–3:30 p.m.

LeBude’s presentation will explain the national research project LEAP, which stands for Labor, Efficiency, Automation and Production. Led by Amy Fulcher at the University of Tennessee, the project is a partnership between several researchers across multiple states to address challenges and opportunities for automation in the green industry. The main objective is to help uncover inefficient practices in nursery production and help uncover potential solutions through existing, nascent, and yet-to-be identified automation and related technologies.

Heims will deliver an overview of the advancement of technology in horticulture based on his near 50-year career in the green industry. From the advent of irrigation pipe to LED (light emitting diode) grow lights, nursery technology is evolving quickly and growers who adapt are the most likely to thrive going forward. In his trademark style, Heims will humorously give his opinions on technological advancements such as tissue culture, mechanization, and the movement of horticulture into the 21st century.

Ogburn’s session is all about navigating the H-2A temporary agricultural employment program to address labor shortages in the nursery industry. Specifically honing in on Oregon nurseries, this session will help business owners find solutions to their biggest challenges with the labor program, such as securing affordable housing and maintaining a positive working relationship with the Oregon Employment Department. Although this session is focused specifically on H-2A for Oregon growers, Ryan has experience in assisting nurseries across Oregon, Washington and Idaho utilize H-2A and H-2B visas to meet the demand for skilled labor in the nursery industry.

Registration for the sessions is required. Convenient registration is available at https://farwestshow.com/register/  Complete details on events, daily schedules, speakers, and education for Farwest can be found online.

The Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN), based in Wilsonville, represents more than 700 wholesale growers, retailers, landscapers and suppliers. Oregon’s ornamental horticulture industry is one of the state’s largest agricultural commodities, with $1 billion in annual sales. Oregon’s nursery industry is a traded sector; nearly 80% of the nursery plants grown in Oregon are shipped out of state. For information, visit www.oan.org or call 503-682-5089.

The Farwest Show, the biggest green industry trade show in the West, is produced by the OAN, a trade organization that represents and serves the interests of the ornamental horticulture industry. Any revenue realized by the OAN is reinvested into the industry through education, research, marketing support and government relations. For more details on the 2021 Farwest Show, taking place August 18–20, visit www.FarwestShow.com


↑ Back to top