TPI’s Executive Director Dr. Casey Reynolds shares turfgrass updates at industry events
At TPI, our mission is to be the voice of the turfgrass industry. Casey Reynolds, executive director of TPI, spoke at two events in Greensboro, North Carolina on January 29 – the 2020 NC Sod Producers Association Winter Conference and Green & Growin’ Education event.
The events gathered sod producers, landscapers and retailers from around the state to discuss industry best practices, opportunities and challenges, including pest management and disaster preparedness.
In TPI’s sessions, Casey shared important government regulation changes that impact attendees’ businesses – such as rules on hours of service and electronic logging devices (ELD) in the agriculture industry.
“TPI is proud to represent the voice of sod producers everywhere in regulation meetings so their ideas and concerns are heard by decision makers,” says Casey. “We then make sure to share updates and resources with our members, so sod producers have the information they need to thrive.”
Casey also discussed TPI’s action in shaping and responding to regulatory changes. For example, TPI met with officials of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in November 2018 to discuss exemptions for agricultural commodities in certain policies. The proposed FRESH Trucking Act of 2020 and the Agricultural Commodity Trucking Relief Act of 2019 would protect horticultural and floricultural commodities, including sod that is sensitive to temperature and climate and at risk of perishing in transit. TPI also engages with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of Pesticide Programs as well as the USDA agricultural census to advocate for the goals of sod producers.
In addition to legislative priorities, TPI shared environmental and population trends that affect the future of natural grass lawns and landscapes. Casey discussed U.S. population movements and weather pattern changes in precipitation and temperature. These trends suggest an expected increased demand for water – and turfgrass – in urban environments.
Throughout the year, TPI proactively pursues these opportunity through partnerships (like with GreenScapes Alliance) and presence at local, state and federal regulatory affairs meetings. Internally, TPI conducts market research to understand how people feel and think about natural grass, and then launches public relations campaigns to increase education and awareness by dispelling myths and delivering accurate, comprehensive and compelling information to key stakeholders.
To learn more about TPI’s legislative and advocacy work, check out our Industry Harvest articles tagged “Government Affairs.”