The Board of Directors of OFA – The Association of Horticulture Professionals voted today to begin the process of organizing a new association with the American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA). Following several months of working together in a joint venture, the working group comprised of leaders from both organizations determined it was time to formally explore creating a new trade association.
OFA and ANLA announced in January 2012 the formation of a joint venture to support business education and government relations activities. The vision statement adopted by OFA’s board of directors expressed the desire to form a new organization if it brings more value to our members and the industry. Since June 2011, OFA’s executive committee has been meeting with ANLA’s leaders about the opportunity for and viability of a formal relationship between the two organizations. As early as the first meeting, the idea of forming a new organization has been discussed by the joint venture working group.
“We are listening to our members. Results of a membership and organizational study performed at the end of last year indicated that members of both associations want the organizations to work closer to unify the industry,” said OFA President Mike McCabe, owner of McCabe’s Greenhouse & Floral in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. “They want their industry association to be all encompassing – one that touches and links all pieces of the horticulture industry, which can be offered by a new organization. After significant exploration and evaluation the elected leadership of OFA determined this is the best way to meet the needs of our members and the industry.”
The multi-faceted horticulture industry is undergoing dramatic changes. Economic strains, generational differences and the changing interest in and need for gardening and landscape products are altering the way our products and services are valued by consumers. Governmental activity and inactivity, financial uncertainty and environmental changes are altering the way plants are being produced, bought and sold. In light of future opportunities and threats in this quickly changing environment, trade associations need to work together to build the capacity and governance structures to properly serve their members and the industry.
The timeline is to have a new organization established no sooner than July of 2013 and no later than January 2014. “This is not a merger. This is taking the best of what both associations do to create a new organization that will advance the industry and better serve our members,” said Michael V. Geary, CAE, OFA’s chief executive officer. “We have many details to work through, but OFA’s leaders are committed to ensuring that our members are involved in the decision-making process. It’s an exciting time for both organizations and the future of the horticulture industry. The combined 215 years of service and resources will create a powerful and meaningful association.” The new association will replace OFA and ANLA.
In further developments of the joint venture, following ANLA Executive Vice President Bob Dolibois’ scheduled retirement at the end of the year, Geary will become the chief staff executive of both ANLA and OFA beginning on January 1, 2013. The organizations will continue to be governed separately, but Geary will lead the day-to-day operations of both associations.
To keep the industry up to date on the formation of the new organization, visit www.OneVoiceOneIndustry.com.