Southern Nursery Association to cease operation

Southern Nursery Association to cease operation

After canceling the SNA Conference scheduled for February — its main source of income — and declining membership, the board determined that the association cannot be sustained.

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Following the announcement of canceling The SNA Conference scheduled for February, the Southern Nursery Association (SNA) has announced that in a unanimous vote the board of directors has made the difficult decision to cease operation of the 121-year-old organization. Since the conference is the main source of income and with declining membership, the board determined that the association cannot be sustained.

Founded in 1899, the SNA, a non-profit 501 (c) 6 trade association representing the horticulture industry in the southeastern U.S., accomplished many achievements in fulfilling its mission “to unite and advance the horticulture industry through educational, research and marketing efforts.” The SNA produced one of the industry’s largest trade shows from 1950 – 2009, the SNA Research Conference from 1955 to 2020, and the SNA Plant Conference from 1991 to 2020. In addition, the association hosted a State Officer’s Conference to encourage the exchange of information and learn about various issues affecting the industry throughout the region. Through a collaborative effort with industry researchers, the SNA produced The Best Management Practices (BMP) Guide, designed to help growers identify and promote exceptional management practices, methods and procedures. The first publication was in 1996 (v 1.0) and updated in 2007 (v 2.0) and once again in 2013 (v 3.0). With more than 6,000 copies in use today, this ever-popular guide has been recognized as the undisputed benchmark for horticultural BMPs in the U.S.

The SNA also published the Proceedings of the SNA Research Conference and featured more than 3,000 titles comprised of more than 12,500 pages on the SNA website. Hundreds of topics in thirteen categories were presented at the conference and the proceedings have been published online, in an easy-to-use format, as an industry service. This exhaustive library will be transferred to the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) website (www.hriresearch.org) or future reference.

In an effort to preserve the 121-year legacy of the SNA, two existing Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) Funds (the SNA Fund and the SNA Golf Classic Fund) will be combined (totaling approximately $300,000) and renamed the Southern Nursery Association Legacy Fund. SNA members are encouraged to continue to donate to this important fund (https://secure.givelively.org/donate/horticultural-research-institute-endowment-fund-inc/sna-1899-campaign) that awards funding for horticultural research in the southeast region of the U.S. 

Past SNA Executive Vice Presidents Danny Summers (1989 – 2006) and Karen Summers (2012 – 2020) have volunteered to maintain the sna.org website to house SNA’s rich history, including but not limited to SNA past presidents from 1899 – 2020, SNA Awards program winners from 1956 – 2020, SNA Research Conference Proceedings from 1991 – 2020, past Bryson L. James Student Research Competition winners, and the Best Management Practices:  Guide for Producing Nursery Crops. Additionally, an SNA Facebook page will be maintained to create a community for past SNA members, and for photos, memories and comments.

Additional historical memorabilia will be deposited with the Atlanta History Center’s Cherokee Garden Library in the Southern Nursery Association Repository created in 1999 for SNA’s 100th anniversary. The collection contains hundreds of administrative records, meeting transcripts, seed catalogs, research proceedings, trade show programs, photos and more.

The Sidney B. Meadows Scholarship Endowment Fund, created by SNA in 1989, will not be impacted by this move. The Fund is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 charitable corporation fully independent of the SNA and will continue its efforts to award academic scholarships to horticulture students throughout the southeastern U.S. To date, the fund has awarded more than $550,000 in scholarships. The fund balance currently stands at more than $900,000. For more information on the Sidney B. Meadows Scholarship Endowment Fund visit www.sbmsef.org.

Although the organization is saddened that SNA will be closing its doors, SNA members can continue SNA’s mission to protect and advance our industry by becoming active members of their state horticulture association and AmericanHort, our industry’s national association.

To assist in the effort of preserving the legacy of SNA, AmericanHort is offering an introductory membership to current SNA members through June 30, 2021. SNA members, who are not already AmericanHort members, can join at the Basic Level at a special rate of $189 for the first year. Details available at AmericanHort.org.

AmericanHort members receive the Impact Washington monthly e-newsletter; Connect digital and print newsletters; Industry Insider Reports; access to the Hort Knowledge Center featuring over 1,000 videos, webinars, articles, and employment development tools; access to the Member Resource Directory and MemberVoice — a tool to be heard on national legislation and regulations; access to webinars; event registration discounts and much more. 

The creation of an SNA member group, based on the level of interest, inside AmericanHort, will help retain the identity and community of SNA. Additionally, efforts to expand the Southern Nursery Association Legacy Fund within HRI will be paramount to preserve the 121-year history and carry forth the longtime mission of the association to further horticultural research. For more information and to take advantage of this special offer contact AmericanHort by email: hello@americanhort.org or phone: 614-487-1117.

In the coming weeks, SNA will be exploring other avenues for AmericanHort to help preserve some of SNA’s programs such as the research conference, student competition, and the Best Management Practices Guide. Final details of the effort to preserve the legacy of SNA will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead.

The Southern Nursery Association wishes to express gratitude to the members, exhibitors, attendees, researchers, students, and volunteers who have been a part of the SNA experience for so many years. It is difficult to estimate the size and scope of the SNA community over the decades. To all those who have been a part of the SNA effort, we salute you and thank you for your service.

For more information on SNA contact the Southern Nursery Association, Inc., PO Box 801454, Acworth, GA 30101, 678.809.9992, mail@sna.org, or visit the SNA website at www.sna.org.