Category Archives: Public Relations

Breakfast on the Farm with Jasperson Sod Farm

TPI member and past Board of Trustee Randy Jasperson of Jasperson Sod Farm hosted “Breakfast on the Farm” on June 22nd, 2019. This annual event is held at various locations  in Wisconsin each year and is designed to educate the public on the value and presence of Wisconsin agriculture. Members of the Wisconsin farming community in Union Grove, WI put on a real show for the public with events including petting zoos, local honey, antique tractors, and even live music, all while eating breakfast. There was also a sod harvesting demonstration which as always really draws in a crowd.

In addition to all of the fun, TPI was there to educate people on the value of natural grass sod and answer any questions on how it’s grown, harvested, and delivered to market. There was also a little more serious discussion with Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI) on H.R. 1673, the Agricultural Trucking Relief Act of 2019. Randy Jasperson and I visited with him to discuss the importance of this bill to sod producers in getting their product to market. H.R. 1673 currently has bipartisan support from 23 legislators as well as a companion bill in the U.S. Senate.

Check out some of the pictures below as well as a story from Journal Times. Thanks to Randy Jasperson and his team for hosting this fantastic event!

 

TPI Gets Involved at Local Level

Local CBS news coverage of TPI's involvement in natural grass field removal

In early 2019, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced plans to remove the natural grass playing surface in Kenan Memorial Stadium and replace it with synthetic turf. As one could imagine, this decision did not sit well with sod producers in North Carolina and one of them decided to reach out to TPI to take action. Keaton Vandemark, retired TPI member of Vandemark Sod Farms in eastern NC reached out to me to discuss contacting UNC officials regarding this decision. I wrote the letter below (Suz, see other attachment) and sent it to the Chairman of the UNC Board of Governors as well as the Director of UNC Campus Health, the UNC Director of Athletics, the NC Department of Agriculture Commissioner, a former NC Speaker of the House, and the UNC Board of Trustees. I also worked with Mr. Vandemark to contact local news agencies to get this story in front of the public, and it was highlighted on the local CBS evening news. This story also made the rounds on social media where it was shared by the current president of the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) and others.

UNC’s athletic director responded to our letter directly, and said that they were moving forward with the synthetic field installation despite our concerns. While we didn’t win this battle, we at least got UNC’s attention and made them aware of the increased risk to their athletes on artificial turf. If TPI can ever assist any of our members with local issues in your area, please let us know. We are happy to promote natural grass and fight to keep our kids and athletes safe everywhere we can. New TPI publications on recent NFL and NCAA player injury research can be found in the Resources tab of TPI’s new website www.TurfgrassSod.org.

The official version of TPI’s letter is attached here and can also be seen in the 2019 July/August issue of Turf News.

Click on the link below to see the full story on CBS 17.com/sports.

TPI Launches #KeepItREAL to promote Natural Grass

Be on the lookout for our KeepItReal hashtag on Social Media and new SWAG that TPI be handing out at field days and shows. TPI is encouraging people to Keep It Real with natural grass in 2019 and beyond! TPI Members can download all of our KeepItREALl graphics for their own use in printing, social media, and more. Stickers, koozies, and other SWAG will also be available for download and/or purchase in the membership portal of TPI’s new website to be launched this summer. Stay tuned and be sure to help promote natural grass locally by encouraging members in your community to KeepItREAL!

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.