The leadership and staff of ANLA and OFA continue to move forward on the decision to form a new horticulture trade association by 2014. If approved by the memberships of the respective organizations, the consolidation of ANLA and OFA will create a new trade group that will be considered the largest in North America. It is also projected to be the largest association of independent garden centers.

Following one year of working together in a joint venture structure, the boards of directors for both organizations resolved at the end of 2012 to continue supporting the development of a comprehensive horticultural trade association. 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 point is to consolidate the industry into one national association instead of there being several competing interests.

Why now?

"Some people wonder why we are doing this. It’s because our members want this to happen," said Bob Terry, ANLA’s president and owner of Fisher Farms in Gaston, Ore. A membership and organizational study performed at the end of 2011 indicated members of both associations want the organizations to work closer to unify the industry.

"Members clearly expressed their preference for their association to be all encompassing-one that touches and links all pieces of the horticulture industry. From breeders to the independent retailers, we believe this can be best accomplished by combining our groups into one organization," explained Terry.

"The combined 215 years of leadership, service, knowledge, and history of these two organizations will result in a more robust experience for our members and ensure the vitality of the horticulture industry," said Mike McCabe, OFA’s president and co-owner of McCabe’s Greenhouse & Floral in Lawrenceburg, Ind..

Before the consolidation is finalized the two organizations will be working to secure the formal support of their respective memberships, merge operations, complete corporate and legal requirements, determine a dues structure, and confirm a new name, among other activities. In the meantime, both groups will continue to offer their respective member services and industry-wide programs. As progress continues, updates will be shared with members and made public through the ANLA and OFA websites and other communications.

To see a informative Q&A about the possible merger, click here. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see it.