The National Turfgrass Federation is seeking help with two proposals for current and upcoming Farm Bill discussions. Those proposals include seeking new potential research avenues under the current farm bill’s High Priority Research & Extension section. NTF got turf language in the 2018 bill (Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) which defines its research priorities under the National Turfgrass Research Initiative. Traditionally, AFRI awards have been allocated almost exclusively to traditional row crop/food and fiber agriculture. NTF believes the National Turfgrass Research Initiative (NTRI) would open opportunities for more turfgrass research which addresses critical needs. Among those would include environmental protection, consumer health and athlete safety, solutions for sustainable turfgrass cultivars and management systems, and increased innovative techniques to address these and future issues. NTRI’s proposed annual authorized funding level would not exceed $20,000,000 per fiscal year, and matching funds and performance reviews would be part of this proposal as directed by Congress.
The second initiative is a Turfgrass Economic Value Statistics Study. It would be national in scope and conducted once every five years by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). NTF proposes a TurfgrassEconomic Value and Utilization survey to be conducted every five years by USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS). Comprehensive data would be collected to provide detailed analysis of total acreage (residential, commercial, recreational, governmental, and other areas); also, commercial and retail-related employment, equipment sales, and other economic items. National and regional economic impacts would also be covered. Both of these proposals could enhance and showcase the value of the natural grass industry to legislators, policy-makers, and the general public.
For enactment of these two proposals, NTF is focused on the following Members: leadership on both House and Senate Agriculture Committees (Reps. Glenn Thompson, R-PA and Rep. David Scott, D-GA; and, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-MI and Sen. John Boozman, R-AR). Additional Members include House Reps. Frank Lucas (R-OK), Jim Baird (R-IN), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Kat Cammack (R-FL), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), and Andy Harris (R-MD) and Senators. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), and both of Iowa’s Republican Members Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst. If you have any connections with these representatives or their offices and would like to be involved, please reach out directly at CReynolds@TurfgrassSod.org or (847) 737-1846.