Greenhouse Canada

Business Management

January 28, 2008
By Dave Harrison


Previewing the Alberta, Saskatchewan and Maritimes trade shows and conferences. Leading speakers, displays of the latest technologies and newest varieties, and a chance to meet old friends, among the highlights.

Alberta’s inaugural Green Industry Show & Conference is debuting in style early next month.

The conference, being held Nov. 1-2 at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, will focus on the greenhouse, landscaping, nursery, garden centre, turf and tree care industries. Conference co-sponsors are the Landscape Alberta Nursery Trades Association (LANTA) and the Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association (AGGA).


LANTA is coordinating the 300-booth trade show. It will be open Wednesday, Nov. 1 from 10 to 5, and on Nov. 2 from 10 to 4.

Pre–conference events include:
• Oct. 31 – Alberta Greenhouse Growers bus tour. Scheduled greenhouses to visit include Doef’s Greenhouses in Lacombe and Central Alberta Greenhouses in Blackfalds.

• Oct. 31 – “The Best Show on Earth,” a complementary session for AGGA members only, will be held at the Holiday Inn Express.

This one-hour session begins at 7 p.m. and will focus on the importance of independent greenhouse operators to their communities. Session leader Rod McDonald is a successful garden centre retailer who weaves humour and practical experiences into his presentations. He has been described as the Don Cherry of horticulture.

• The annual LANTA Nursery Growers & WNGG (Western Nursery Growers Group) Auction will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. in the Shaw Conference Centre. Proceeds are directed to horticultural research.

Provincial agriculture minister Doug Horner will officially open the conference.

Opening day greenhouse and garden centre speakers, and their topics, include:

• Competing with the Big Boys – Rod McDonald, a garden centre retailing expert from Regina.

This session will highlight the weaknesses of the big box stores, and the strengths of independent greenhouses and garden centres while stressing the importance of quality, service and selection.

• Growing with Vision & Precision: Matching Energy with Profitability – Panelists will include Dr. Mohyuddin Mirza of Alberta Agriculture, Jim Hole of Hole’s Greenhouse & Gardens, Joe Doef of Doef’s Greenhouses, and Eric D’Argent of A.V.B. Greenhouses.

This interactive session will emphasize that energy issues are not just the “heating bill,” but a total package of related practices like crop scheduling, labour management, quality and efficient use of computers.

• Stick ’em Up: Front Line Signs – Stephen Head of Sightlines Display, Chilliwack, B.C.
This session will outline the process of developing and implementing an effective signage strategy.
• Alberta Agriculture Research Updates – Presenters include Dr. Ron Howard, Dr. Michael Harding, Dr. Prem Kharbanda, and Dr. Nick Savidov.

Included will be the results of a five-year study at Crop Diversification Centre (CDC) South into the Proper Substrates for Greenhouse Production; Greenhouse Vegetable Disease Management; Pepper Internal Fruit Rot; and the progress made towards the registration of a bacterium Paenbacillus polymyxa PKPB1 for control of greenhouse crop diseases. As well, updates on aquaponics systems for crop yields and their economic feasibility, and the evaluation of the risks and benefits of products commonly used in greenhouse sanitation, will also be highlighted.

• Nursery Growers Commodity Group Meeting – Chairman Dean Falkenberg will lead this first meeting of the winter season. This session is open to any nursery grower wishing to attend and no conference pass is required.

• Diagnosing Plant Problems – Dr. Paul Thomas, University of Georgia.

Dr. Thomas will present some quick procedures to identify what’s wrong and what to do about it.

• Profitability & Efficiency: How Healthy is your Business? – Ron Lyons, P.Ag., Alberta Agriculture, Olds.
How healthy is your greenhouse business in terms of profitability, efficiency, solvency and liquidity? The COBRA-GREEN (Commercial Business Return Analyzer for Greenhouses) computer program can help you assess the financial risk in your business.

• Growing Crops at Lower Temperatures: Are You Sacrificing Quality? – Dr. Paul Thomas.

Dr Thomas will cover the basic concepts on how temperature affects the physiology of plants and which categories of plants do not respond well to cooler temperatures. He will also provide some general rules for deciding whether or not to turn down the heat.

• Impact of Utilities on Greenhouse Profitability – Nabi Chaudhary, Alberta Agriculture.

This presentation examines costs and returns for major greenhouse crops, as well as discussing opportunities and challenges for this industry.

• Myths & Realities of the Dutch Greenhouse Industry: Production & Marketing Chains – Ava Duering, Alberta Agriculture.

Although the Netherlands ranks as only the 28th largest vegetable producer globally, it is the world leader in vegetable exports. This presentation explores how the Dutch have achieved this success.

• “How May I Direct Your Call? For Business Profitability Tips, Press 1; For Production, Press 2 …” – Dr. Mohyuddin Mirza.

This ‘early bird’ session will cover business profitability and its relationship to your decision-making tools. Simply stated, it is how you react to problems that determine your profitability.

• Making Money in the Land of Giants – Rod McDonald.

This two-hour seminar reviews profitable business systems, ranging from how much you pay, to how much you charge. Find out where many businesses leave substantial profit margins out of the equation, so you can put them back in.

• Plant Marketing Around the World – Dan Heims of Terra Nova Nurseries Inc., Portland, Oregon.

This session will review the best of the best and the worst of the worst in marketing and promotion in the horticultural industry.

• Greenhouse Insect ID and Life Cycles – Dr. Ken Fry of Olds College in Olds, Alberta.

This is a hands-on workshop during which participants can see pests under the microscope, to learn to recognize the different life stages and the kinds of damage each pest can do. The discussion will also look at how to tell the good bugs from the bad. 

• Creating a Catalogue – Dan Heims.

Terra Nova Nurseries Inc. produces one of the finest colour catalogues in the U.S. Learn how to pull out of the humdrum, text-only format and spice up what really represents you and your nursery.

• Growing Bedding Plants from Seeds to Sales: Focus on Customers – Melhem Sawaya of Focus Greenhouse Management, Simcoe, Ontario.

This veteran grower and industry consultant will discuss selection of seeds, varieties, early crop management, and flowering scheduling to coincide with peak sales periods.

• New Perennials from Around the World – Dan Heims.

This session features a whirlwind tour of eight countries (Japan, Germany, Israel, the U.S., Holland, England, Ireland and New Zealand), and highlights the major players in each country and their new introductions.

• Strategies in Vegetative or Generative Production – Cees VandenEnden, of HortiSource Consulting Inc., Leamington, Ontario.

The profitability of greenhouse-grown vegetables is determined by yield and price. In many cases you can’t control price, but you can increase yields by understanding how to steer plants towards the vegetative or generative side of production.

• Height Control of Bedding Plants Without Chemicals – Melhem Sawaya.

This session discusses different strategies you can use to achieve beautiful plants without the use of chemicals.

• The Best Show on Earth – Rod McDonald.

Join Rod for this one-hour seminar on the importance of independent garden centre/nursery operators and how they relate to their community. This motivating seminar encourages people to follow their dreams, and will help you re-focus and re-energize after a long season.

• European Top Yields: Myth or Reality? – Cees VandenEnden.

Join Cees as he shares his observations on European methods of vegetable production.
For registration information, visit or call 800-378-3198.

Print this page


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *