Plant Materials Center update: February 10, 2022
Here are 5 things that you should know about the PMC for February 10, 2022:
The PMC has posted $1,511,915 in sales as of 2/9/22. That compares favorably to sales this time last year when they were $962,740, which is a 36% increase. That is a trend that has been developing since last summer and there is not one clear reason for the unprecedented increase. Some of the drivers for this year’s demand probably include making up for planting projects postponed last year due to COVID, an increase in the number and scale of conservation projects, fire recovery, increased reforestation, more landowners increasing the quantity and diversity of native plants on their property among other things.
It is worth noting that while sales are unprecedented, it is not unpredicted. The PMC business plan from September 2019 had predicted sales close to 1.5 million this year. Of course, it appears that number will be eclipsed somewhat but there are worse problems to have. Regardless of the reason for this increase, it has made keeping up more demanding. The efforts the PMC staff and employees have made to keep up the pace are very commendable.
The January financial reports have been completed. There are not any big variances to report on but there are a few that are worth looking at. One is on the Statement of Financial Position, Current Assets (PMC Banner Bank), where the total in checking and savings was $342,153 on January 31st. That is worth considering for two reasons. First, it exceeds the amount that business assets are covered by FDIC insurance by $92,153. That amount will be reduced to ensure full coverage by FDIC. The other point worth looking at the total deposited with Banner is comparing it with this time last year when the total amount was $82,171 which is a substantial increase and is directly correlated to the increased sales, not that anyone is complaining. It is nice to have sufficient liquid assets during a normally negative cash flow time of year for the PMC.
Another thing to look at on the Statement of Financial Position is the Net Income. That number includes both Executive and PMC combined and is a negative -$190,415. That number is always negative in January due to PMC expenses exceeding revenue and will continue negative for a few more weeks until the plants shipped and invoiced exceed expenses.
Revenue for PMC Plant Sales on the Income Statement shows a big increase from last year. It is $450,752 as of 1/31/22 compared to $263,651 last year. That is good because expenses are up from last year on a few line items. Bank and Credit Card Charges are $7,038 fiscal year to date compared to $2,785 last year. That is a significant increase but in credit card fees it shows that people are paying sooner with credit cards.
Shipping outbound is up from last year but that is offset by Shipping Charges Reimbursement revenue and is an indication of customers receiving more plants sooner in the season. Seasonal Labor is also up but that is a combination of increased minimum wages, more weeding in the summer, more live stake harvest in the fall, and increasing the crew size slightly from last year in order to get the work done. Overall expenses are up from $569,025 last year to $608,498 this year. Fortunately, revenue is also proportionally higher.
Last week was possibly a record-setting shipping week. Over 200,000 plants left during the week. 80,000 plants left within a two-hour period alone. Fun fact; that is an amazing amount of work! Sales Manager Jacquie Gauthier was a communications wizard coordinating with customers and staff and keeping the orders up to date. Farm Operations Supervisor Bill Mulder and all of the crew were awesome in getting the plants lifted and ready for shipping. Assistant Manager John Knox and shipping and receiving standout Jon Hagen went the extra few miles to have all of the plants ready on time and Admin Assistant Lori McLaughlin is amazing at keeping the orders and invoicing current. They could be called a well-oiled machine but a machine is a sum of its parts and this group is so much more than that. It should also be noted that during the run-up to last week the PMC was missing employees due to COVID and other things. So far, 796,261 plants have been shipped or picked up this season. Way to go all!!
As mentioned above, harvest is going strong and making up lost ground due to recent employee absences from COVID protocols and other reasons. The daily average of plants processed is back up over 30,000 per day and over 1.3 million plants have been harvested this season out of 1.9 million sold thus far. The PMC harvest is on schedule to finish up on time.
One thing that happens in the spring, after harvest, is planning production for 2024 and 2025 seasons. It is a time of predicting demand two to three years away. Up until now, that has included planning a modest increase from year to year. This year is different because of the potential for a significant increase in planting riparian buffer strips. Or not. One tenet of nursery management is do not speculate on hopes, speculate on solid probabilities based upon history and multiple sources of objective, informed input. Sales for this year will increase the average numbers in recent years, but predictions should not be solely based upon one recent year. Long story short, the current ambiguity about the state of riparian restoration will tend to moderate predictions for near-term growth. If anyone has a crystal ball less murky than that please share.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Jim Brown, WACD PMC Nursery Manager