Plant Materials Center Update: December 15, 2022

Here are 5 things that you should know about the PMC for December 15, 2022:

Harvest in Full Swing

Harvest officially started on December 1st.  The PMC was harvesting live stakes for several weeks prior to that, but bare root seedling harvest began on the 1st with the full 20-person harvest crew.  18 of the crew have been here for 1 or more harvest seasons so the first day was very productive.  There are a number of customers who have requested plants in December and most of these orders include a variety of species.  It takes a while to lift the dozens of separate lots to fill the initial orders and seldom do 2 customers request the same thing.

Of course, things cannot run too smoothly.  Last week was interrupted by freezing weather and a variety of illnesses affecting staff and crew.  The combination of COVID, Respiratory Syncytial Virus and the seasonal flu combined to keep several people out for most or all of last week which resulted in temporarily stopping bare root harvest and focusing the remaining crew on doing live stakes.  By this week staffing numbers increased, the ground thawed and bare root harvest resumed.  There are still a couple of people out but that is not too unusual.  Hopefully that can continue but cold weather remains in the forecast for next week so time will tell.

November Financial Report

Lori has completed the November Financial reports. As has been the case for most of this fiscal year, expenses are up from last year but so are sales and revenue.  Total revenue received this fiscal year so far is a $102,062 which is over the same time last year when revenues were $72,793.

Of course, one cannot increase production and revenues without increasing expenses. As of November 30th, expenses at the PMC were $498,638 compared to $358,209 for the same time last year.  Some of the big increases include seasonal labor due to higher minimum wage (which goes up again on January 1by 8%), packaging supplies due to receiving boxes and bags earlier in the year than usual due to supply chain concerns which will even out by next month, and remitting part of the Executive Operations payment earlier than usual and that will even out in time.  Fortunately, the increase in sales will more than offset increased expenses.

Sales

As of 12/15/22 sales were $1,648,946 compared to $1,305,869 on 11/30/21 which is a 26% increase.  So far current sales exceed the annual sales budget of $1,411,300 by 17% and growing.  This sales volume is composed of 280 individual orders, 51 of which are to Conservation Districts worth $428,869 and 229 are to non-CD customers with a value of $1,220,076, or 74% of the total.

In spite of the record demand for plants at the PMC there is still a lot of stock available.  The availability can be found on the PMC website at wacdpmc.org, or by contacting Sales Manager Jacquie.

Operations

In spite of below average temperatures and above average time lost due to sick leave, the PMC is running smoothly operationally. The equipment and facilities are all functioning normally.  Of course, that can change suddenly, but hopefully it won’t.  The PMC maintains high standards for maintenance and that usually pays off.  The tractors and fork lifts received the necessary maintenance prior to the start of harvest.  Even the Lincoln car the PMC inherited from the Executive office has been serviced and is running normally.  Perhaps the biggest worry is the cooler compressors breaking down due to their age.  They are running smoothly, not that they have to run too much in this weather.  But so far so good.

PMC Purchases Pickup

The PMC has been without a road-worthy pickup for using to run errands. This matter was brought to the attention of the officers and directors at the last Board meeting who okayed purchasing a pickup, which was done before harvest started.  It should be with us for years to come.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions. You can find older posts about the Plant Materials Center at https://hub.wadistricts.org/topics/wacd/pmc/

Jim Brown
Director of Nursery Operations