The horticulture industry provides significant contributions to society, including healthy foods, economic development, recreation and leisure activities, among others. However, there are critical issues facing the horticulture industry which should be illuminated to ensure ongoing vitality and relevance, particularly within the COVID-19 pandemic context. The present study used the Delphi Technique to identify the most critical issues facing the horticulture industry as perceived by a panel of industry experts. Data were collected from February to October 2020 and thus preceded the initial declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic through the lifting of stay-at-home orders in most states. The expert panel arrived at a consensus on 34 specific issues, five of which were specifically related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using the Constant Comparative Method, the issues were thematically analyzed and grouped into five primary categories, including (alphabetically ordered): (1) disease and pest management, (2) education, research, and recruitment, (3) environmental conditions and natural resource availability, (4) labor challenges and considerations, and (5) production challenges and innovations. The results of the study provide a framework for both academic and practitioner audiences to identify critical focus areas for the industry within a COVID-19 context.
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