President’s Notes March-April 2020

By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
March-April 2020

I am sitting in my Lazy Boy, on a sunny Sunday morning, in mid-February, on one of the colder days this winter. I’m thinking about how crazy the weather has been this year. One day we have snow, the next we see grass. It’s nuts! We all know what the rodent in Pennsylvania said; we’re going to have an early spring. Well, I hope he’s right, as we all would like to get back to work because a light winter does not equate to money in the bank. Whether you plow by contract or by the inch, a winter like this is really tough on the pocket book. Many people I’ve talked to are really tired of the ice. I can’t wait to say goodbye to the winter of 2019-2020 and hope for a profitable new season.

As I think about the upcoming landscape season, I have many wonders. Are we going to have a dry spring, so we can complete our work on time? Are we going to find enough labor to get the work done?  Is the workload going to stay at the same pace it’s been for last 10 years? These are the questions we’re all dealing at the start of a new season.

The most difficult question to answer is the LABOR issue. The answer is not easy and if I had the answer, I would be a rich man. I have had several meetings with members over the last month regarding the labor issue. These meetings have been with members of both the green and hospitality industries. The topic is the H2B program. How can we get the returning H2B workers off the visa cap? The group met with Congressman Chris Pappas at one meeting and the staff of Senator Jeanne Shaheen, at another. We expressed our concerns of not having enough labor to do the work. They were both concerned with the problem and will bring the concerns to the House and the Senate.

We all need this situation to be rectified. Let me explain what I mean: if the returning visa is allowed, this will keep the competition for labor to a minimum. The workers that come from other countries, to work in New Hampshire, choose to do so. They love and enjoy the industry as much as we do. We are not the only industry in New Hampshire, or around the country, that is suffering with labor issues. The fishing, hospitality, and the construction industries are also suffering and fighting for the minuscule labor force that is available to us. I will keep you posted on the progress of the situation.

There have been several topics on the NHLA Board table this year. One of which, is creating educational programs to meet the needs and requests of the membership. The Spring Landscape Conference has a great line up. Check it out! The Education Committee has been listening to you and working on getting you the information that will help both you and your business.
Please keep an eye on the website and the NHLA Newsletter for all educational opportunities. This year, we have March Madness! The NH Arborist Association has its meeting on March 17, followed by our Spring Landscape Conference on March 20, then the Hardscape Education day on March 24, and finally Landscaping for Water Quality on March 26 & 27. There’s something for everyone! We hope to see your there. We’re looking at how we can spread the educational programs throughout the course of the year.

Yes, as you’ve probably heard, I am running for president again. Change requires your help! We need you to get involved and join us on the board of directors. New people, bring new ideas! Yes, I have enjoyed the past two years, as president, and hopefully will enjoy one more. Dave DeJohn is running for vice president and then president again. We need more involvement from the members. Dave has already been president twice and will do it one more year because he loves NHLA and does not want to see it fail. The commitment to NHLA does not take an incredible amount of time and will only benefit you, as well as, your company.
I am asking all of you to think about helping out. If you can’t help out, do you have any employees that would like to get involved and help make a difference?

I know you hear it all the time, by every president of NHLA, but I’m asking for a small time commitment, of 2-3 hours per month. The “I’m too busy” excuse does not work for me. I’m just as busy as the rest of you. If I can find time to make this association work for you, the members, so can you. Please make some time and help us keep NHLA going in the right direction. q

“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.” —Stephen R. Covey