By: John Morgan
On my last day of Cultivate this year I started out the day by going to a session on changes to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS). The WPS is a training program aimed at reducing the risk of pesticide poisoning and injury among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. Basically any workers that can potentially come in contact with pesticides need to have this training. This training isn’t as in-depth and pesticide handler training and certifications, but it is still just as important. The EPA is implementing some changes over the next few years, and this session covered those changes.
Then, I headed to a session entitled “The Best Annuals You Aren’t Growing”. This session focused on some plants and varieties that are awesome, but could use some love. This made me realize that I should probably focus on highlighting some less well known plants and varieties on our website and YouTube videos. So look forward to a wider variety of plants being featured.
Finally, I headed over the new varieties display. In this area new varieties of plants from a number of different breeders are featured. You can be sure that some of these to appear in our markets next spring.
This was my eighth year attending the conference and trade show. Looking back, as an IT guy, it is interesting to see how the horticultural industry as embraced new technologies over the last few years. Sometimes our industry is viewed as traditional and behind the times with a “that’s the way we’ve always done it” attitude. However, I think the reality is quite the contrary.
In 2009 when I attended the Short Course (now Cultivate), there was maybe one or two companies offering LED lighting technologies. This year you would be hard pressed to find booths featuring “traditional” lighting like high pressure sodium. Here at Bob’s we have begun investing in LED technologies too as we replace older lighting systems.
Likewise, I was pleasantly surprised to see a number of software vendors for both greenhouse production systems and retail-related systems. In previous years, I have sometimes felt out of place approaching our industry from the standpoint of information technology. Now it appears I’m not alone, and that’s awesome!