The season we have been planning for all year is here. Even though being post-pandemic brings new challenges, we are so glad to see customers’ smiling faces again. 2020 tested us to reevaluate the way we do business. I recently visited a local garden center, and while the store was full of customers, there was still a drive-thru order pickup lane in use. Online ordering, in store pickup and delivery options are here to stay. Customers have adapted to a new way of shopping while we continue to be challenged by staffing shortages, supply delays and inflation. Many growers and retailers must plan further into the future to obtain what they need when they need it. Time will tell what innovations will help us overcome these current obstacles.
As the public begins to buy new 2022 plant varieties for their gardens, springtime also gives many the opportunity to take a sneak peek at what will be new for 2023 in annuals and perennials. From March 30 to – April 3, growers and broker representatives traveled to the coast for California Spring Trials, also known as CAST. Most go from one end of the California coast to the other, visiting different breeders to see their new plant offerings. Breeders also look forward and plan for this event all year. Not only is this a great time for growers to see what’s coming, but also a great time to be inspired by the creative display designs. This year was business-as-usual for all the breeders. It was a welcome sight to see after the past two years of restrictions.
On May 3rd, I had the honor of attending the opening of the Nutrien Agricultural Sciences Building at Colorado State University. Dr. James Pritchett, Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Director of the Ag Experiment Stations, and University President, Joyce McConnell opened the ceremony with a few words, along with Kim Jordan, from the Board of Governors. The building replaces the former Shepardson Hall. The front of the new building bears the symbolic “A” that stands on the mountain just west of the university, and has always imbodied the Aggie spirit the college was built upon. The new building has a green roof, and an innovative 360-degree classroom intended to engage students. It was designed and built by AP Construction to create a place for students to not only learn, but also gather, having many nooks, social spaces and even a coffee bar. Brent Smith, Vice President of Marketing and Innovation of Nutrien, spoke on the company’s behalf about why it was essential for them to make such a significant investment in the building and provide education for the future of our industry. Sam Moccia, an undergraduate student in the department, spoke about the spirit of the campus and the building. Personally, as a graduate of Colorado State University, I was pleased to hear the university still carries the same inviting and friendly spirit I experienced so many years ago. As I was touring the building, I was honored to run into the legendary Dr. Temple Grandin who has contributed so much to not only animal science, but also to understanding autism. This new space will inspire a new generation to join our industry. As we work through the current spring season, we are constantly preparing for what’s next, be it through modifications to our daily business routine, taking an annual trip to CAST to see what’s new, or the historic opening of a new modern building on the Colorado State University campus, we are continually planting seeds for the future of our industry.