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A meeting of the turfgrass minds

By and |  December 4, 2020 0 Comments

On Oct. 20-22, 2020, the National Turfgrass Federation (NTF) and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) partnered to review the September 2017 national turfgrass workshop’s accomplishments.

The virtual workshop is the third national meeting to discuss the need for collaborative research among universities, federal agencies and the industry. The first meeting in Dallas, held on Jan. 22-25, 2002, resulted in the Turfgrass Research Initiative. The turfgrass industry’s estimated annual value was $40 billion at that long-ago time. Turfgrass covers an estimated 50 million acres in the U.S., making it the fourth-largest crop.

In this year’s workshop, the 55 attendees from academia, industry and government agencies set new research priorities for the future. Also, the summit attendees prioritized cooperative FFAR and industry research projects for funding.

The participants included selected stakeholder representatives from golf, sports turf, lawn care and grounds maintenance. University and USDA scientists, the USDA Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture National Program leaders, turfgrass industry leaders, landscape architects, native plant specialists and environmental groups participated.

This event was a productive, interactive and engaging virtual meeting. It allowed participants to outline the priorities of the national turfgrass needs. The participants provided implementation strategies and identified potential funding mechanisms. The hope is turfgrass scientists and the turfgrass industry can collaborate with FFAR, USDA and other government agencies.

The National Turfgrass Research Initiative (NTRI) will be revised and updated. In summary, the goals and objectives of the meeting were as follows:

1. Provide a review and update on the research needs identified in 2017 and progress in securing funding to address research priorities.

2. Develop an understanding of research capabilities and locations within the federal, state, private and nonprofit sectors.

3. Prioritize and define turfgrass research needs on a regional and national basis.

4. Identify research capabilities within federal, state and nonprofit sources.

5. Consider a federal turfgrass competitive grants program, the mechanism for awards and organizational structure.

6. Organize a working group of stakeholders to advise and consult on national turfgrass research programs within federal or nonprofit funding sources.

7. Develop a strategy for implementation and funding of research needs.

Morris, Kevin. 2006. The National Turfgrass Research Initiative. USGA Green Section Record. September-October, 2006, pp. 26-30.

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