Future of Colorado Agriculture

What are the critical trends in Colorado's food, fiber and green production? Will labor, water or cash be the factor that limits agriculture’s success in the next few years? What role do rural communities play in agriculture's future?

Colorado State University is spearheading an effort to discuss, define and consider the potential paths that Agriculture may take in the next generation. We need your help to highlight the important issues and offer your vision of what lies ahead. Extension specialists with the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics will facilitate the discussion both out in the state and on the internet.

Agricultural sectors are listed on the right-hand side of this web page. Take a look at the agricultural sectors and their respective issues, read the opinion of others, and post your own comments. You can also email comments and suggestions for discussions to futureofcoloradoag@gmail.com .

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Green Industry in Colorado

A 2001 U.S. study estimated that consumers spent nearly $40.7 billion on garden-related products, up 12.1% from $36.3 billion in 2000, with the average U.S. household spending $444 on lawn and garden goods. Colorado household and business expenditures on a broader set of garden, landscape and lawn products and services (including linkage industries such as irrigation systems, botanical gardens, lawn and garden equipment and maintenance services) have followed a similar trajectory, averaging almost 10% annual growth since 1993, for a 2007 total of $1.8 billion.

Through 2007, the green industry in Colorado has seen sustained growth: the $1.8 billion directly contributed increases to $3.3 billion when you consider its impact on broader economic activity and employment generation in the Colorado economy. Because of its labor intensity, the local impact of this industry is fairly strong.

The green industry provides over 35,000 jobs, an increase of 12,000 jobs since 1994 (tripling in size in less than 15 years), with $1.2 billion in payroll (up $750 million from 1994). These increases are indicative of the demand for green services and the ability to hire workers on a more year-round basis (resulting in greater earnings per worker). The average wage earned has also increased to an average of $35,318 annually, up from $26,159 in 2001. The industry has come along way in providing better compensation to its workers, but like other sectors of agriculture, has struggled to find enough workers.

The highest growth sectors within the Green Industry during the 1990’s and early 2000’s were wholesale nursery, tree and sod production, landscape design, installation and maintenance, public and private golf courses, and nursery/garden centers.

Questions to Consider:

Given its need for land, water and workers, many view the green industry as a competitor to food-based agriculture, while others note that the growth in Green industries signals yet another changing preference of consumers for aesthetic surroundings.

How can the green and traditional ag industries work together to benefit resource issues (water, labor) they are both struggling with?

Are Green Industry stakeholders at more risk of a downturn during tough economic times? Or will those who would have normally changed homes likely to reinvest in upgrading their current landscape and add more value and sweat equity to their homes?


Willie said...

i believe that if the farmers and all of the people that are growing green things could find a way to upgrade all of their equipment then they could save a lot of money on labor, and as for the water situation there are going to be a lot of problems with the enviromentalists but if there was a way to get everyone's fields watered with irrigation pivots so that they are not using an excess amount of water, watering at night so that there is more absorbed into the ground rather than evaporating, and this would also help because they could patrol the amount of gallons of water they use daily.

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