The Business of Hydroponics 10-1

Lesson Ten

The demand for premium, healthful produce has risen dramatically over the past ten years. 
Consumers today want and will pay a premium price for produce that is known to be safe
and free of harmful pesticides and herbicides.

Commercial hydroponic greenhouse



The  combination of  hydroponic technology  and a  con-
trolled environment greenhouse  is an ideal solution to fill-
ing  this demand. With  this combination, known  as Soil- less/Controlled Environment Agriculture (S/CEA), a
grower can produce extremely high quality produce close
to the marketplace. This eliminates the cost and damage
that occurs in commercial trucking of field produce.

A commercial hydroponic operation uses up to 1/20 of the
water and a fraction of the space needed to produce an
equivalent amount of produce in traditional agriculture.

There are hydroponic farms throughout the United States and worldwide. Most hydroponic 
farms in the US are family or small business operations. Several large hydroponic facilities, 
covering as much as 80 acres, are spread throughout the United States.
The smaller hydroponic farms usually have 1/8 -1 acre in hydroponic production while the
larger facilities average 20 - 40 acres. The smaller operations generally have the advantage
of offering vine ripened produce and being near the marketplace.

The premium quality of hydroponic produce is due to the controlled environment, green-
house grade, pure nutrients and the lack of herbicides and pesticides.

The most popular hydroponic crop in the US is tomatoes, with
second being cucumbers, third, leaf crops and fourth, herbs,
peppers and flowers. Ironically, there is more hydroponic pro-
duce flown into the United States from Holland, Canada,
Europe and Mexico than is grown here. As more and more
hydroponic farms are established in the United States, this will

Hydroponic tomato crop