March 26, 2020

Dear MNLGA Members:

This e-mail is distributed to key contacts; please feel free to share with others in your office.

I don’t have any Governor Hogan updates for you at this point today. I can share with you a few new resources, however. And below, I’ve started to compile comments/feedback that our members are sharing with the MNLGA office. I will continue to compile and distribute. I will not include any identifying information unless you explicitly ask me to. Please share what you are seeing and thoughts for your business’ role in the supply chain.

Last night the Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan virus-instigated aid bill. It's now in the hands of the House.

Yesterday I noted you may send your plant pathology pictures to Karen Rane at . Stanton Gill shares that you may send photos of insect issues to him a . Also, be on the lookout for Extension’s weekly IPM bulletin. It comes out every Friday via e-mail. If you are not receiving it directly, e-mail Suzanne and ask her to add you to the list. .

In the spirit of cooperation in which we should all be engaged right now – “a rising tide lifts all boats, right?” - I’m sharing “ Coronavirus Best Management Practices for the Green Industry ,” published by PennState Extension. UME will add, as relevant to MD, and that information will be forthcoming and shared. 

Check the MNLGA website for many COVID-19 resources.

Member Feedback – Impact of COVID-19 on Their Business:

Wholesale Growers :
  1.  Provided by The Perennial Farm (with permission to use name) Following the COVID-19 task force recommendations, we are restricting deliveries to the New York Tri-State area until April 9th. (this includes: NJ Counties: Sussex, Passaic, Morris, Bergen. New Your City: Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, Westchester and Rockland Counties. CT County: Fairfield.) No deliveries will be made with company trucks to the specified areas. We should still be able to ship using one-way racks. I have attached 3 maps showing the restricted areas. This is being done to minimize exposure to this COVID-19 virus 'hot spot'. We continue to respond to this virus with an abundance of caution and safety.
  2.  Some orders continue to ship out and some delay. We continue to work on potting up future stock as liners arrived in early May. This seasonally warm weather maybe helping spirits but are not helping our time frame. We have made modifications based on CDC guidelines to protect all of our staff that is currently needed to work as well as having staff work from home if possible. We are also taking steps to prepare if Governor Hogan does put us on a lockdown situation, which I hope does not occur. I look forward to hearing from all of you and hope you are all doing well.
  3. Currently, the farm is open, and we are delivering plants to some clients.  Some employees are working from home, we are staggering work schedules and postponing the start dates for all Part-Time employees. 
  4. So far, we are still shipping. One load to Bergen County, NJ was stopped when they shut down all business activity. A partial load to CT was cancelled due to fear; didn't want to dig it anyway so it was a win.
  5. Still shipping with very few issues. Still taking orders. 
  6. I am impressed with some of the ideas like curb side pick-up, etc. and I hope that translates to more progressive thinking about web-based ordering for our retailers.  

IPM Services
  1. Many of my clients are putting IPM services on hold in order to contain costs. However, the pests will not wait to attack until this health threat passes. Without proper IPM programs in place, it will be extremely difficult for growers to maintain healthy plants and prevent plant losses while also trying to balance a reduced workforce and cost containment efforts. And, the slower their business, under the circumstances, the longer they will need to keep their plants healthy and sellable. Under these circumstances, I would think IPM programs are essential and needed more now than ever.

I particularly like this quote that was also shared with me. This is a time to be as positive as possible: Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but how we react to what happens: Who we are, is not determined by what life brings us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst...a spark that creates extraordinary results!

Please keep me informed of what is going on with your business. If I know what is going on, I may be a better resource to you and to other members as we navigate together this uncharted territory. Feel free to email me at Vanessa .

Vanessa A. Finney
Executive Director, MNLGA