ANLA and OFA members form AmericanHort

September 30, 2013 -  By

AmericanHort-Logo-CMYKThe Association of Horticulture Professionals (OFA) and the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) will be consolidated into a new, national trade association named the American Horticulture Association, which will be known as AmericanHort. The decision followed a 30-day open ballot and today’s in-person vote for OFA’s members, held in Columbus, Ohio.

“It’s what our members want,” said Mark Foertmeyer, chairman of the board for the new organization. The owner of Foertmeyer & Sons Greenhouse in Delaware, Ohio, and current president of OFA added, “We have surveyed our members, spoken with them and finally asked them to cast a ballot. Each time they told us they wanted a national association that unifies and serves the entire horticulture industry.”

The new organization will represent the whole of the plant industry, including breeders, greenhouse and nursery growers, garden center retailers, distributors, interior and exterior landscape professionals, florists, students, educators, researchers, manufacturers, and all of those who are part of the industry supply chain. The association will have its primary office in Columbus, Ohio, and an office in Washington, DC, to facilitate government relations and research activities.

“We will have the largest national nursery, greenhouse and garden retail membership of any horticulture association in the United States,” said Dale Deppe, AmericanHort inaugural vice chairman and owner of Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, Mich. Deppe, current vice president of ANLA, also said, “Those communities will join together with breeders, distributors, interior and exterior landscape professionals, florists, students, educators, researchers, manufacturers and all who are part of the supply chain to represent our industry with one, strong voice and a greater base of volunteer, staff, and financial resources.”

AmericanHort will begin operations by Jan. 1.

Michael V. Geary, CAE, who will continue as the chief staff executive, said the new association will maintain all of the current staff in the Columbus, Ohio, and Washington, DC, offices.

“By including research, industry promotion, regulatory and legislative efforts, education and countless opportunities for buyers and sellers to interact, we will deliver a broad range of business-based services to our industry and be the quintessential resource for the horticulture industry as a whole,” Geary said.

Gary Mangum, CEO of Bell Nursery, headquartered in Elkridge, Md., and a current member of ANLA and OFA said, “I have made long-term dues investments in both organizations. ANLA is the leader in legislative and regulatory representation for our industry, and OFA offers outstanding educational programs and runs the largest horticultural trade show and convention in North America. With the addition of programs like the Next Level conference and the significant expansion of the retail segment at the 2014 Short Course, we can already see the benefits of these two associations joining together. It will be better for my business, and it is a true win for our industry. Congratulations to our leaders and members who made this historic decision.”

The inaugural board of directors was appointed by the legacy organizations. For the first year, the board will have equal representation from OFA and ANLA and it includes the following leaders:

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