Category Archives: TPI Members

Turfgrass Producers Hours of Service Glove Box Doc

Hours of Exemption Glove Box Doc

 

In case you’ve missed the positive news – TPI has worked with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to define sod as an agricultural commodity. This ruling makes the claim for exemptions relative to Hours of Service and Electric Logging Devices much easier. This ruling was announced in November and you can read more about the outcome here. TPI will always do our best in putting membership dollars to work on important policies and regulations impacting our industry.

 

Exclusive Turfgrass Producers International Benefit
As a result of this ruling, TPI is proud to introduce our latest member-exclusive benefit – the TPI Hours of Exemption Glove Box Doc. We are happy to set your drivers up for a successful route. If they are pulled over, this document is the information they need to prove sod is included in this latest legislation.

Glove Box Doc

Every TPI member farm received a copy of this new benefit in May along with a letter from Executive Director, Dr. Casey Reynolds. Since the delivery, feedback has been astounding. Our members are thrilled with this latest benefit. While we only sent two copies to each member farm, TPI members can request additional copies from our office.

Sod farmers would be left out of these important programs without TPI advocacy and efforts in regulatory affairs. Please join or renew today to continue to protect important agricultural exemptions!

 

TPI Member Benefits
In addition to the latest membership benefit, TPI offers year-round value to the industry and your business. We provide the latest research and technology findings in our bi-monthly, award-winning, Turf News. We host unparalleled events for the sod production industry for prime networking. We publish the annual Weed, Insect, and Disease Control Guide. These are just a few of the benefits of being a TPI member. Join today or renew today for access to these exclusive benefits.

New in 2021 – Turfgrass Producers International Committee Restructure

Turfgrass Producers International Committees

Turfgrass Producers International is nothing without its members and the commitment from our members to helping with our mission. As we come off a year that tested each of us in ways we could not imagine, one thing became very clear. Our members are committed more than ever to the growth of our industry, education for professional growth, and networking with other members. For TPI to deliver on these goals, we need the help of our members.

TPI and The Lawn Institute run smoothly under the direction of one committed Board and several committees. Our committees help guide the direction of TPI and TLI initiatives. In 2021, TPI and TLI committees are changing and growing.

New for Turfgrass Producers International Committees

We have a few exciting updates to our participation process and requirements. Committees are now a three-year term commitment. This term includes a minimum of three virtual meetings and one in-person meeting a year at our International Conference and Field Day.

Additionally, we are thrilled to announce Committee Week! Each quarter TPI will dedicate a full week to hosting virtual committee meetings. Committee members will receive this schedule at the beginning of each year. It’s important to note that some committees must meet more frequently to achieve the committee goals.

How to Join a Committee

To join a TPI or TLI committee you will need to complete a Committee Interest Application. Select your top three committee choices and let us know why you’d like to join. While this application will be open year-round, members will be able to join committees in the spring of each year. The 2021 call for committees’ application will be open from February 25 through March 5, 2021 at 5 pm EST.

If you are already on a committee and wish to remain on that committee, please complete an application and our Membership Director will reach out to you to discuss your term dates.

Introducing the Newest Turfgrass Producers International Committee

We are excited to announce the Board has created a new TPI Committee to help steer the direction of TPI! This new committee, Leadership and Innovations, will work to develop strategies for reaching new leaders, developing new TPI programs, and utilizing technology to push TPI initiatives forward.

You can join this committee or any of the six existing committees this year by submitting our new Committee Interest Application.

What are the Turfgrass Producers International and The Lawn Institute Committees?

Conference & Education Committee
The primary responsibility of this committee is the development and coordination of educational programs for TPI events including pre-conference seminars, panel/board discussions, general education and breakout sessions, and tours, along with the identification and recruitment of speakers.

Membership Committee
The focus of this group is to identify new programs and strategies that expand TPI’s membership participation worldwide and increase the value of a TPI membership.

Public Relations Committee
The primary goal of this group is to maximize TPI’s effectiveness in developing marketing strategies that serve to educate the general public; convey beneficial information to producers, suppliers, and end-users; address specific environmental advantages or concerns; enhance and expand TPI’s relationships with turfgrass extension specialists, researchers and educators; and develop, review, and revise various support materials specifically designed to achieve the intended objectives.

Leadership and Innovations Committee
The primary goal of this committee is to develop connections with leaders within TPI to develop strategies for reaching new leaders, developing new TPI programs, and utilizing technology to push TPI initiatives forward.

The Lawn Institute Fundraising Committee
The Fundraising Committee is responsible for developing fundraising activities for the Foundation and for helping to secure donations.

The Lawn Institute Research Committee
The Research Committee focuses on reviewing research proposals and making funding recommendations to the Board of Trustees. The Research Committee is also responsible for tracking the research being done in the turfgrass field and reporting on that research to the board.

The Lawn Institute Scholarship Committee
The Dr. Henry W. Indyk Scholarship was established to honor a founding father of Turfgrass Producers International while demonstrating TPI’s commitment to education and offering a valuable member benefit. The Scholarship Committee solicits, collects, and reviews Dr. Henry W. Indyk Scholarship applications annually. The committee members use objective criteria to select scholarship winners.

Be More Involved with Turfgrass Producers International in 2021!

If you’ve been looking for a way to get more involved in TPI or TLI now is the time! Complete a Committee Interest Application and join us as we shape the future of TPI and TLI.

 

TPI Growing Forward Virtual Series Speakers

TPI’s 2021 Growing Forward Virtual Series is just around the corner. We’re thrilled to bring you quality education in turfgrass from the comforts of your office. This year’s slate of speakers is one of a kind. Here’s a closer look at some of our industry experts you will hear from.

TPI Virtual Series Speakers

Dr. Casey Reynolds
Dr. Casey Reynolds is the Executive Director at Turfgrass Producers International, a non-profit trade association representing the turfgrass production industry. He received his PhD from North Carolina State University in 2013 before moving to College Station Texas to join the turfgrass program faculty at Texas A&M University. He is an avid supporter of the natural grass industry and all of the many benefits it brings to urban and suburban environments worldwide.

You can hear Dr. Reynolds speak Feb 17 at 10am about TPI Government Relations Impacting the Sod Industry.

Dr. Marco A Palma
Dr. Marco A Palma is Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University. Dr Palma is a Texas A&M Presidential Impact Fellow. His areas of interest are consumer economics, food choices, experimental and behavioral economics and neuroeconomics. Dr Palma is the Director of the Human Behavior Laboratory (http://hbl.tamu.edu), a transdisciplinary facility that integrates state of the art technology to measure biometric and neurophysiological responses of human decision making. The HBL aims to facilitate the integration of neurophysiological responses to traditional methods of studying human behavior in the social sciences. Specifically, it provides access to state-of-the-art equipment to simultaneously collect psychophysiological data, including eye tracking, facial expression analysis to assess human emotions, neural signals (electroencephalography), galvanic skin response (GSR) heart and respiration rates through integrated stimulus presentation platforms.

You can hear Dr. Palma speak Feb 17 at 1pm about Housing and Economy.

Dr. Jay McCurdy
Dr. Jay McCurdy is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist at Mississippi State University. He received a B.S. from the University of Tennessee-Martin, a M.S. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and a Ph.D. from Auburn University. He has worked as a golf course superintendent, sod farmer, and private consultant. His research interests include turfgrass weed ecology and management, herbicide resistance, pesticide fate, and wildlife habitat inclusion within urban environments. He teaches and advises students studying Weed Science and Turfgrass Management. He has authored 25+ peer-reviewed publications as well as numerous trade and Extension articles. He serves as editor for the Mississippi Turfgrass Magazine and as Associate Editor of several society Journals. In cooperation with state and regional colleagues, he has developed new and novel teaching and outreach programs, including the Deep South Turfgrass Expo and the MSU-Extension Sustainable Home Lawn Management Program.

You can hear Dr. McCurdy speak Feb 18 at 11am about Weed Control for Warm Season Grasses.

Dr. Matt Elmore
Dr. Matt Elmore is as an Assistant Extension Specialist in Weed Science at Rutgers University. His program at Rutgers focuses on novel strategies to control weeds with fewer pesticide inputs. Prior to joining Rutgers, Matt was a Turfgrass Extension Specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife in Dallas, TX and earned his MS and Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee.

You can hear Dr. Elmore speak Feb 17 at 1pm about Weed Control for Cold Season Grasses.

Dr. Ariana Torres
Dr. Torres’ research focuses on the decision-making processes of specialty crop farmers, along with the use of digital marketing technologies among industry stakeholders. Her expertise includes the economic modeling of adoption of new technologies, the development of decision-making tools for specialty crop growers, and the economic impact of growers decision-making processes. Her research provides relevant research-based information to her extension program, Horticulture Business (www.hort.purdue.edu/hortbusiness) to provide trainings and publications to farmers, business owners, Extension personnel, and policymakers.

You can hear Dr. Torres speak Feb 18 & 19 at 11am about Social Media.

Dr. Bill Withers
Dr. Bill Withers has nearly three decades of management and leadership experience in both business and education, and he is a two-time presenter at the International Conference on Business in Honolulu. [Which is where he fell in love with his “Aloha shirts” he sometimes wears!]

Bill has both studied and served organizations such as Proctor & Gamble, Ritz-Carlton, Disney, Four Seasons, Starbucks, and Southwest Airlines, and he was a contributing writer to three books in the areas of leadership and customer service.

After an early career working in media and marketing, Bill spent 20 years in higher education, training, and development at Wartburg College where he was recently awarded Faculty Emeritus-status by their board upon his recent retirement there.

Today Bill serves on the executive leadership team at Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, Iowa, the largest mainline protestant church of its type in all of North America.

Dr. Withers continues to specialize in the areas of public relations, customer service, organizational change, and leadership.

You can hear Dr Withers speak Feb 17 at 11am & 1pm.

Register Now

Register for TPI’s Growing Forward Virtual Series today to hear these great speakers. You’ll also have that chance to attend discussion groups and bid on some spectacular items in our online TLI Auction. Don’t forget to stay with us on February 16th and 18th to meet with our sponsors during our virtual field day. You can register here!

USDA Under Secretary Discusses Covid Impacts on Farms

Bill Northey, the USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation visited TPI member Linda Bradley’s farm in Hendersonville, NC on October 20th, 2020. He was there to meet with sod, blackberry, and Christmas tree farmers to discuss the impacts of Covid-19 on farms and marketing channels. TPI was on-hand to to share with the Under Secretary many of the experiences that have been relayed by TPI members with regard to how Covid-19 has impacted their operations. On September 18th, the USDA announced an additional $14B in federal aid for farmers impacted by Covid-19, but as of the date of this event, sod farmers have been ineligible to apply for relief funds. TPI has been working directly with the USDA Farm Service Agency to get included in recent federal relief programs administered through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP2).

Also in attendance were state and county representatives form the NC offices of the USDA Farm Service Agency as well as the Executive Director from the NC Christmas Tree Growers Association and representatives from the NC blackberry industry.

Prior to leading the Farm Programs and Conservation Mission Area overseeing the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Risk Management Agency and the Farm Service Agency, Mr. Northey served as the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture from 2006 to 2018. A fourth-generation farmer, Mr. Northey served as a commissioner of the Dickinson County Soil and Water Conservation District, and president and chairman of the National Corn Growers Association. He was also president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture from September 2011 through September 2012, while serving as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture.

Mr. Northey has a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Business from Iowa State University and an MBA from Southwest Minnesota State University.

TPI Response to NFLPA Request for Grassing All NFL Fields

October 6th, 2020

ATTN: JC Tretter, NFLPA President

NFL Players Association

1133 20th St NW

Washington, DC 20036

CC: Team Owners, University and High School Athletic Directors, Sports Field Managers, Coaches, Athletes, Parents

SUBJECT: TPI Statement on NFLPA’s Statement on Field Safety

Dear President Tretter,

We commend you for your recent NFLPA President’s statement on September 30th, 2020 titled “Only Natural Grass Can Level the NFL’s Playing Field”. We too have been closely following recent research published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine in 2019 which demonstrates the increased rate of lower body injuries to NFL and NCAA athletes when playing on artificial turf. While we recognize the need for multi-purpose venues in some scenarios, it is important to challenge team owners, university athletic directors, and others with one fundamental question. Do we want our athletes playing in a concert venue, or do we want to host concerts and other events in an athletic venue? If the answer is the latter, then there is little doubt that natural grass is the safest proven choice.

Our U.S and International sod-producing members meet this demand daily by producing farm-fresh natural grass for professional, university, and amateur sports venues worldwide. They have proven time and again that they can rise to the challenge in grassing indoor and outdoor stadiums for NFL and NCAA football games, professional soccer matches, special events and more. Advancements in grass varieties, harvesting techniques, planting methods, shipping, and equipment allow natural grass sod producers to provide the safest possible playing surface often in as little as a few days. After speaking with several of our members who produce natural grass sod for NFL and collegiate stadiums, they assure me that with proper planning and communication that they could provide natural grass fields for all NFL games.

On behalf of TPI’s staff and Board of Directors, we welcome this prioritization on player safety, and we encourage others to follow your lead. We write today to re-assure athletes, owners, athletic directors, coaches, and sports field managers everywhere that our network of professional, knowledgeable, and resourceful natural grass sod producers are prepared and ready to meet this demand head-on.

Sincerely,

Casey Reynolds, PhD

Executive Director, Turfgrass Producers International

To read the full statement from NFLPA President Tretter as well as to view TPI Resources on recent American Journal of Sports Medicine research on field safety click the links below.

TPI 2021 Conference Plans for Covid-19 Impacts

The TPI staff and board of directors are currently working to address the potential impacts of Covid-19 on TPI’s 2021 International Education Conference and Field Day just outside of Austin, TX from February 22-25, 2021. We have been in contact with the Hyatt Lost Pines, TPI’s host hotel in Lost Pines, Texas, to develop plans for various scenarios around Covid-19. The current travel restrictions, social distancing guidelines, limits on large gatherings, etc. are impacting meetings all over the world and TPI’s is no different.

We’d love to hear from our members on how they feel about attending the TPI 2021 International Education Conference and Field Day next winter. We know a lot can change between now and then, but ask that you please take a moment to fill out the brief 2 question survey below so we can plan accordingly. As always, please feel free to call the TPI office with questions or comments.

TPI Releases Weed, Insect, & Disease Control For Turfgrass Producers

TPI members will see a brand new resource hitting their mailboxes soon. The 2020 TPI Weed, Insect, and Disease Control for Turfgrass Producers is a newly finished book that was mailed to TPI members on June 4th. The first edition contains over 110 pages of information on herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides registered for use in turfgrass production in over 30 countries. This book was authored by turfgrass faculty members at four universities and colleges in the United States and Canada and includes information relevant for use in Australia, Canada, the European Union, and the United States. It is FREE to TPI members with additional copies available for purchase for $25 each or 5 for $100.

Information included in this book includes:

  • Product selection, rates, application timing, etc.
  • Mode of Action resistance management
  • U.S. and international use of herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and plant growth regulators
  • Sprayer calibration and interpreting product labels
  • Photos of common insects and diseases in turfgrass production
  • And more…

Interested in receiving this FREE book and other TPI member benefits? Click here to learn more! https://www.turfgrasssod.org/join-tpi/

TPI-1

NFL Field Managers Symposium Hosts Sod Producers

The 2020 NFL Field Managers Symposium invited eight sod farms who regularly produce sod for NFL teams in-season to participate in a round-table discussion. It was a two-hour, interactive session, teaming the sod producers with 125 field managers and staffers. Three members of the NFL Team Operations Department also attended.

With input from field managers as well as the sod producers, they covered a broad range of topics, including sod farm certification, on-field events, growing scheduling, harvesting and installation timing, transportation, scheduling and the most important factor, communication. While each of the sod producers has developed their own proprietary product, and those products differ in the grass species and cultivars, and vary in production methods from grown on plastic to grown in the field, they all face similar issues and challenges—and have the same objective—a safe, game-ready field that meets NFL expectations.

Tony Leonard, Director of Grounds for the Philadelphia Eagles says that in-season sodding impacts nearly all the NFL field managers. Leonard says, “Even the synthetic turf field managers have done it at some point if they have hosted international soccer in their stadium. Installing ready-to-play natural grass over synthetic turf has its own set of challenges with keeping newly laid natural grass sod alive indoors.”

There is no margin for error with the NFL field. As Leonard said, “Because of our partnership with the sod grower, we trust them to provide us with a safe field in excellent condition to play an NFL game.”

The eight sod farms and their attending representative were: James Betts for Tuckahoe Turf Farms – New Jersey; Chad Price for Carolina Green Corp. – North Carolina; Jonathan Holland for Precision Turf, LLC – Georgia; Donald Thomas for Quality Sod – Florida; Jimmy Fox for Evergreen Turf – Arizona; Joe Wilkins for Green Valley Turf Co. – Colorado; Greg Dunn for West Coast Turf – California; and Marty Schaafsma for Schaafsma Sod Farm – Illinois.

For more information on this story, check out the current issue of Turf News. To join TPI and receive a free Turf News subscription please visit https://www.turfgrasssod.org/join-tpi/

NFL Groundskeeper Tony Leonard
Tony Leonard, Director of Grounds for the Philadelphia Eagles

Sod Checkoff Initiative Launches New Website

sod industry checkoff

Members of the U.S sod production industry have asked Turfgrass Producers International (TPI) to investigate the potential industry-wide interest and impacts of a potential sod industry checkoff. Over the next 12-18 months, TPI will host online webinars to seek input from producers and to share information on what a potential checkoff could look like for the sod industry. The first webinar is to be held on Tuesday, May 19th from 11am to 1pm EDT.

This is the first official meeting to discuss the potential of a sod checkoff program and now is the first of many opportunities to provide input and get involved. Any sod industry checkoff would be designed, implemented and governed by sod producers, for sod producers and all U.S. sod producers will have a chance to provide input on establishing an industry-wide checkoff.

Please go to http://sodcheckoff.org to learn more, submit questions, and to sign up for email alerts about upcoming webinars and other important information.