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Master of Agribusiness

Michigan Greenhouse and Nursery Financial Study

Cindy (Mulert) Birchmeier, Pewamo, Michigan, (formerly from Owatonna MN) defended her thesis, “Michigan Greenhouse and Nursery Financial Study,” Friday, July 15, 2005. Birchmeier is an Analyst for Greenstone Farm Credit Services in East Lansing, Michigan.

Currently the Michigan greenhouse and nursery industry ranks second in agriculture commodities in cash receipts.  It accounts for 15.2% of Michigan’s total agriculture industry and for 3.8% of the total U.S. greenhouse and nursery receipts.  Because of the industry’s growing importance to Michigan agriculture, Birchmeier wanted to identify those factors that affect the profitability of Michigan’s greenhouse and nursery operations, and provide accurate financial information to producers and service providers so operations will remain viable into the future. 

“This experience identified the lack of financial benchmarking information available within the industry.  The study painted a clear picture that retail operations need to focus on gaining labor and facility efficiencies that Michigan wholesale operations already capture, and additional research needs to be completed to identify factors that influence profitability for greenhouse and nursery operations both in Michigan and throughout the nation,” Birchmeier said.

Birchmeier’s findings are important to the greenhouse industry, as there is not a lot of other information about the industry readily available.

Dr. Allen Featherstone, Professor of Agricultural Economis and Birchmeier’s thesis advisor said,  “The lack of information in the greenhouse industry has made it difficult to understand the economics factors that lead to financial success in that industry.  The only previous study on the industry was in New York.  With the study on the greenhouse industry completed in Michigan by Cindy, information for the first time on the financial performance depending on what chain the product is ultimately sold to is available.  This information is extremely valuable for students of the greenhouse and nursery industry. ”