Plant Materials Center update: March 10, 2022
After missing last week’s update completely due to workload, this week’s 5 highlights are going to be condensed into 1 brief highlight.
PMC life is very busy
Things at the PMC are very busy. Getting plants harvested has been a challenge. First was the weather with almost three weeks of harvest time lost due to frozen ground. Now the challenge is the ag labor shortage. Some people have left for their spring thru fall jobs and there are not many people out there to replace them with.
In the past, an ag labor contractor had people available to send to us but they have not been able to do that this time. We have been able to hire enough replacements to keep things moving forward but at a slower rate. Some days we were within one person of not having enough crew to run! The goal was to finish by March 18th but that probably won’t happen until the 25th. The main thing to point out however is that over 1 ¾ million plants have been harvested thus far and that is amazing, all things considered.
There has not been time to calculate how many plants have been shipped so far, but it is probably over one million which is record-smashing. Plants are shipping out so fast that the cooler storage problem is more along the lines of not having enough plants in the cooler to fill orders with rather than running out of space to store plants. There is only one refrigerated trailer here for storing surplus stock and it is not very full.
The biggest challenge with shipping is finding semi-trucks to haul larger loads. We are not even thinking about price increases for shipping due to fuel prices. We are just happy to get the plants to their destination.
Maybe next week there will be more info on sales and financials but for now, it should suffice to say that sales are probably at least 35% ahead of this time last year. Expenses are up a little, too, but fortunately not nearly as much as sales.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Jim Brown, WACD Director of Nursery Operations