Author Archives: Casey Reynolds, PhD

About Casey Reynolds, PhD

Dr. Casey Reynolds is the Executive Director at Turfgrass Producers International

Child burned on DC playground highlights turf, rubber

Original article by Michael Quander, WUSA 9 in Washington, D.C.

Local parents express concerns about synthetic turf and rubber playground surfaces in Washington, D.C. where at least one child got 2nd degree burns on his feet while walking barefoot on a playground. A representative from the Safe Healthy Playing Fields Coalition says these types of injuries are all too common for kids playing on rubber surfaces. For the full story and 2-minute report from WUSA9 click on the link below:

Joint Bid wins 2026 World Cup for US, Canada, and Mexico

Original article by Tim Hackett, SI.com

The 2026 World Cup will be held in the United States, Canada, and Mexico as a result of the winning bid coming from these three countries. This will be the first World Cup held in North America since the U.S hosted in 1994. Further details, including host sites, are still being worked out but this is great news for soccer fans and natural grass sod producers in the United States and Canada. The original story from Sports Illustrated can be found at the link below:

Razorbacks Plan Return to Natural Grass

Original article written by Anthony Reyes, WholeHogSports.com

The Arkansas Razorbacks are going natural! Or, should I say returning! After 10 years of synthetic turf, the Arkansas Razorbacks football program will be installing real grass for the 2019 football season and beyond. New head coach Chad Morris goes on record in this article stating his preference for natural grass and we couldn’t agree more! For the original article posted at WholeHogSports.com click on the link below.

#KeepItREAL

A Day on the Hill with the National Turfgrass Federation

Representatives from the National Turfgrass Federation (NTF) made a trip to Washington, D.C. in early May to discuss the impacts and importance of the natural turfgrass industry on the United States economy, environmental health, and urban well-being. The timing of this trip comes during the United States House of Representatives and Senate negotiations for the 2019 United States Farm Bill, which is the primary legislative tool that affects U.S agriculture and food policy. 

The objectives of this visit were to introduce the natural turfgrass industry to policy-makers and express the importance of federal support, both in the form of farm bill language and appropriations, for facing current and future challenges including water use, drought, pests, public perception, etc. Estimates place turfgrass as potentially the 4th largest crop in the United States at over 60 million acres, and unlike many agricultural crops, it is present in every city, county, and district in America. Turfgrass maintenance alone is estimated to be a $60 billion industry nationwide, yet federal funding for turfgrass science and research lags far behind other major agricultural crops. Currently, with less than $750,000 of dedicated annual federal support in USDA-ARS, turfgrass scientists receive approximately 0.00125% of the industry’s economic impact in maintenance alone.

Over the course of the visit, NTF visited with republicans and democrats from Georgia, Utah, Arizona, Kansas, Maryland, and representatives from the United States Department of Agriculture. The message delivered was that university scientists have great success at returning value on each dollar of private or publicly funded grants. However, there are currently few grant opportunities at the federal level large enough to support large-scale projects in turfgrass genomics, developing hardier varieties that tolerate heat, drought, salt, etc., and understanding the ecosystem services of the natural turfgrass industry on a national scale. In order to explore these areas, it’s important for policy-makers to understand that turfgrass science is an integral part of the agricultural industry and should be recognized as such. It overlaps with other sectors of science and is one of the most dynamic crops in agriculture. 

USDA Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue

Dr. Brian Schwartz from the University of Georgia, and home state of the USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, highlighted the value that new varieties bring to turfgrass producers and the industry as whole. Dr. Casey Reynolds of TPI discussed that even though many people think of natural turfgrass as present in urban and suburban communities, the turfgrass producers who harvest this crop are farmers who face many of the same challenges as growers of any other agricultural crop. Federal recognition in the farm bill and support of turfgrass research to produce new varieties that meet the needs of homeowners, landscapers, athletic field managers, and golf course superintendents will not only bring added value to turfgrass producers, but also to end users who have a need for newer, lower input turfgrasses. As Secretary Perdue convincingly stated in response to NTF, “You don’t have to convince me of the value that farmers bring to society.”

USDA Staff Visits

Language in Title VII of the current House of Representatives Farm Bill states the case for the National Turfgrass Research Initiative, and NTF will continue to pursue these efforts. The current farm bill, the Agricultural Act of 2014, is set to expire at the end of 2018. 

On-hand for the National Turfgrass Federation were Kevin Morris of NTEP, Dr. Mike Kenna of the USGA, Dr. Brian Schwartz of the University of Georgia, Dr. Joe DiPaola of Agronomic Intelligence, Mark Johnson of GCSAA, and Dr. Casey Reynolds, Executive Director of TPI. Johnathan Moore, a public affairs consultant, and Robert Helland, Director of Congressional and Federal Affairs for the GCSAA, were also present and were vital to the success of the visit. Special thanks to Kevin Morris of NTEP, for taking a lead role in this endeavor.

TPI Partners with FleishmanHillard to Promote Natural Grass

Over the next 6-8 months, TPI will work closely with FleishmanHillard to develop research that will provide further insight into consumer views on natural turfgrass. This research will be instrumental in helping TPI develop new benefits for its members that they can use to promote natural turfgrass locally, while at the same time promoting their own businesses and products. This research will also allow TPI to take a more deliberate and instrumental role in promoting natural turfgrasses to benefit it’s members and the entire green industry.

TPI’s Executive Director Dr. Casey Reynolds says, “We are committed to promoting our members and the natural turfgrasses they produce that we are all so passionate about. This initiative is about bringing new benefits to TPI members while at the same time allowing TPI to take a lead role in promoting natural turfgrasses.” FleishmanHillard was selected not only for the quality of its reputation and work, but also due to its international presence. “It is important to us that as we develop these resources, we do it in a way that not only benefits US growers, but Canadian, European, Australian, and other international TPI members as well”, says Dr. Reynolds. FleishmanHillard has over 85 offices worldwide that will allow TPI to meet regionally specific needs and markets in which it’s international members operate. 

FleishmanHillard

“Continually building upon our experiences, we compel key audiences, transform behaviors, and help to build, maintain and protect our clients’ brands and reputations”

TPI members can be on the lookout for these resources to hit the Members-Only Toolkit found on the TPI website sometime in early 2019.  The contents of the toolkit will be largely based upon the results of the market research, but items available to TPI members could include pre-packaged media kits, social media posts, brochures, pamphlets, or more that can all be customizable by location and member farms. “We will continue to strive to bring as much value as possible to TPI members and hope that these new resources will assist our members locally, while TPI simultaneously works to promote natural turfgrasses nationally and globally”- Casey Reynolds, PhD.

“Real grass all day long”: Texas Rangers sound off on new stadium

Original article written by Mac Engle, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Texas Rangers baseball players are sounding off on rumors of the plastic stuff going in at their future home and brand new baseball stadium. If you want to know how they feel about synthetic turf just check out some of the quotes in the attached article. Heat, injuries, and sore backs are at the top of their minds when thinking about playing on synthetic turf. For the full story and player reactions, check out the full story below from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

#KeepItREAL

TLI Research Committee Funds 5 Proposals in 2018

The Lawn Institute Research Committee met in Tucson, AZ during the TPI 2018 International Conference & Field Day to review, discuss, and vote on research proposals submitted by university researchers from throughout the world. The committee received 19 research proposals this year focused on items including turfgrass insects, diseases, genetics and plant breeding, turfgrass water use, turfgrass cooling effects, biostimulants, plant growth regulators, and sod harvestability. 

The committee decided to fund five university research projects that have the potential to impact turfgrass producers and the industry throughout the world. They include:

  1. Dr. Matt Elmore, Rutgers University ($2,500)
    1. Turfgrass Pest Control Recommendations Guide, Weed Control
  2. Dr. Lee Miller, University of Missouri ($2,500)
    1. Turfgrass Pest Control Recommendations Guide, Disease Control
  3. Dr. Jay McCurdy, Mississippi State University ($10,000)
    1. Harvest Aids for Improved Turfgrass Shelf Life
  4. Dr. Marco Schiavon, University of California-Riverside ($20,000)
    1. Mapping and Monitoring Turfgrass Cooling Effects
  5. Dr. Ben Wherley, Texas A&M University ($30,000)
    1. Environmental Impacts and Runoff Dynamics Associated with Turfgrass Removal in Urban Landscapes

TLI Valentine’s Day Dessert Reception Raises $123,000

Many attendees flocked to the TLI reception on Wednesday night to enjoy some after-dinner Valentine desserts with friends and family while raising money for TLI’s research, scholarship, education, and PR initiatives. A variety of items were auctioned off to benefit TLI including an Osceola turkey hunt in Florida, a Texas hog hunt, a Brouwer Turf Roller, a gourmet Dinner for 8, a NASCAR driving package, a homemade quilt, a TPI 2019 conference registration and lodging package, and more!   

The evening ended with the auctioning of a Trebro Autostack II harvester, courtesy of Trebro Turf Equipment which went to Anthony and Sonia Heilig of A&S Heilig t/a Go Turf in Beerburrum Queensland Australia!

TPI 2018 draws over 700 people to Tucson, Arizona

TPI’s 2018 International Education Conference & Field Day attracted more than 700 people who enjoyed a whirlwind week of learning, networking, catching up with old friends, and meeting new ones from February 12th – 15th in Tucson, Arizona. Attendees came from 41 states and 16 countries and traveled from as far away as South Africa, Australia, Canada, Europe, and even Japan to take part in the energy and enthusiasm of this event.  

The week started on Monday morning with almost 100 participants at the Rootin’ Tootin’ Clay Shootin’ event to benefit The Lawn Institute (TLI). Attendees sharpened their shooting skills by taking aim at clay targets on a scenic desert course at the Tucson Trap and Skeet Club and Southwest Regional Training Center for the US Olympic Shooting Team.

After a group breakfast, it was off to the ranges where teams competed for the title where clay targets were thrown from various places over many stations on the course. After it was all over, the top three teams included TPI members from 1st place) Texas, 2nd place) Australia, and 3rd place) Canada! Congrats to all of the winners.

Another busload of attendees visited the University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2. Biosphere 2 is one of the world’s most unique facilities dedicated to the research and understanding of global scientific issues.  

It serves as a laboratory for controlled studies and has as it’s mission to serve as a center for research, outreach, teaching, and life-long learning about Earth and it’s living systems. TPI attendees got a chance to see this unique world-class scientific facility first-hand!

Later that evening, TPI president Jimmy Fox opened the conference on to a packed house at the Opening Reception on the Foyer of the Westin La Paloma. Here attendees got a chance to relax on the outdoor patio overlooking the scenic Catalina mountains of Tucson, AZ.

Ty Bennet, founder of Leadership, Inc. speaks to TPI members during the General Session

The 2018 Education Conference presented attendees with many options to solve their biggest business challenges. Monday’s pre-conference seminar featured Lynda Pinnington, PhD, of Pinnington Training & Development, in a class entitled Meeting the Challenges of Leadership in Today’s Workplace. Tuesday’s education slate kicked off with Ty Bennett of Leadership Inc. talking about investing in people with his talk, Partnership is  the New Leadership.  The rest of the day’s topics included research comparisons of natural versus synthetic surfaces, communicating the value of a natural turf surface, information about drought- and cold-resistant cultivars, and site-specific turf management tools. Featured speakers included Jack Fry, PhD, Kansas State University; Gerald Henry, PhD, University of Georgia; and John Sorochan, PhD, University of Tennessee. 

Kevin Cross started Thursday’s education program with his story of fraud, redemption, and workplace ethics. The breakout sessions covered new and emerging technologies for turf management, novel techniques for seeding grass in a soybean field, ways to manage personal stress, and information about salt and sodium. Thursday’s speakers included Lisa Goatley, LPC, Blacksburg, Virginia; Doug Karcher, PhD, University of Arkansas; Dave Kopec, PhD, University of Arizona; Ed Lee, Summit Seed; and Mike Wagner, M&M Turf.

TPI President Jimmy Fox presents during Annual Business Meeting

 TPI Officers and Staff led the 2018 TPI Annual Business Meeting where they presented information on TPI and TLI budgets, TLI scholarships, current and new initiatives, and more. The TPI Board of Trustees also presented two new by-law amendments to the membership in attendance regarding changing the current TPI membership and fiscal years to align with the calendar year, as well as other TPI procedures. These amendments were formally put on the table, discussed, and approved by the TPI membership and will become effective January 1st of 2019. 

TPI Executive Director Casey Reynolds, PhD spoke about TPI’s current and future endeavors in attending and speaking at turfgrass events throughout the world, involvement in regulatory affairs, developing new benefits for TPI members, new supplier categories, and a new TLI website that will be launching soon. 

He also provided updates on a new public relations initiative that will be launched in 2018 and will include consumer and market research on turfgrass as well as new TPI resources that will allow members to promote natural turfgrasses and their use. “We’re excited about getting this underway and promoting the use of natural turfgrasses while also putting more resources in the hands of TPI members”, says Casey Reynolds, PhD.

Exhibit Hall and Field Day

The Exhibit Hall opened on Tuesday with a tremendous crowd ready to visit with the 52 exhibitors lining the hall. The energy was high in the action-packed aisles for more than two hours as vendors were able to share information about their products with the attendees. Then it was off to field day at nearby Evergreen Turf in Eloy, Arizona where the rain held off as crowds flocked to visit 31 exhibitors and learn about new products and technologies while enjoying a beautiful mountain view!

R&R Products Tour

TPI Attendees were treated to a real surprise Tuesday with a field trip and lunch tour of R&R Products, a leading manufacturer of replacement parts for the commercial golf and turf industry. With over 275 employees, this family-owned and operated corporation manufacturers over 25,000 parts and TPI attendees got a chance to see many of them being made while touring the 300,000+ square feet manufacturing facility in Tucson, AZ.     

Their sales philosophy has always been to offer a top quality product at an attractive price and have them in stock at all times for immediate delivery. The Rogers family says, “All R&R reels, bedknives, and tines are  guaranteed against defects for the life of the product and R&R ships 98% of all orders the same day.”

This was definitely one of the most unique parts of TPI 2018 in Tucson. It’s not every day you get a chance to tour a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. Not only did TPI members get to see where much of their turfgrass replacement parts were made, but they also got treated to a lunch with local flavor and custom R&R Products Keychains!