Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

Charles Hall

Committee Members

John Brooker, William Klingeman


The rapidly growing nursery and greenhouse industry comprises an important part of the agricultural sector of the United States with sales growing at nearly 8.0 percent annually from 1966 to 2004. Aggregate information about the U.S nursery industry is readily available, however little information is available on trade flows and marketing practices of the industry.

The goal of this study was to identify structural adjustments in the nursery industry as indicated by regional trade-flow trends, production practices, and marketing practices in the nursery and greenhouse industry from 1988 to 2003. This was accomplished through a comparison of responses to two national surveys of nursery and greenhouse operators. Except on a single-state basis, little attention has been given to the dynamic information available across surveys. To provide an initial description of important trade-flow trends in the industry, responses to the 1989 and 2004 surveys were examined by region allowing for comparisons over a 15-year span between 1988 & 2003.

To describe change in the industry between the 1989 and 2004 surveys, two methods were used to compare variable means. For questions with binary responses, a t-test was performed to determine significant differences in the two surveys. For questions with multiple responses, chi square tests of independence were performed. Significant changes in the nursery industry have occurred in types of plants grown, plant packaging form sales, sales transaction methods, sales to wholesale/retail outlets, allocation of advertising dollars and computerization.

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