Turfgrass Producers International’s (TPI’s) 2015 International Education Conference & Field Day, held Feb. 16-19 at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in San Diego, exceeded even the highest of expectations of those in attendance.
The favorable response was attributed to a diversified two-day educational program, a Field Day at A-G Sod Farm in nearby Neuvo, Calif., and numerous social and networking opportunities.
More than 500 turfgrass producers representing 112 turfgrass farms from across the globe — including Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Finland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Russian Federation, Scotland, South Africa and the United States — were on hand for the event. More than 80 exhibitors showcased products and services.
What made the conference rewarding were the diversified educational sessions. For turfgrass producers interested in natural grass versus artificial turf sports fields, Dr. John Sorochan from the University of Tennessee offered a comparison of the two. Brad Veibell of JB Instant Lawn and Steve Bush of Bush Sports Turf shared success stories regarding what it takes to convert an artificial sports field to natural grass. And for those in attendance who wanted some insight into the housing market and the overall economy, Robert Denk, assistant vice president of forecasting and analysis for the National Association of Home Builders, provided a look at what 2015 may have to offer.
Monique Leclerc, Ph.D., provided an update on recent carbon sequestration research being conducted at the University of Georgia and funded by The Lawn Institute. James Baird, Ph.D., University of California — Riverside, addressed ways in which to save turfgrass while conserving water, and there were numerous concurrent breakout sessions covering assorted topics such as “closing the sale,” “hiring, training and managing seasonal workers” and “the real cost of sod at retail.”
TPI members Hank Kerfoot of Modern Turf in Rembert, S.C., and Hugh Dampney of Dampney’s Eco Turf, Parley Court Farm in Christchurch, England, provided insightful overviews of their respected business.
John, Betty and Joel Addink of A-G Sod Farms Inc. served as Field Day hosts, and the weather couldn’t have been more accommodating. Equipment demonstrations and on-site exhibits provided attendees with an opportunity to see equipment firsthand and engage with manufacturers, suppliers, service providers and fellow turfgrass producers. One member stated, “Had a great time and I appreciate the effort in connecting the vendors with the growers… it was great as always!” A new TPI member commented, “Enjoyed my first-ever TPI Conference! We should encourage families to attend.”
First time attendee Alexy Andreev of Russkie Gazony, Saint-Petersburg, Russia, wrote, “Thank you for a memorable conference. We did appreciate participating in it and much enjoyed it. We hope to continue our fruitful and mutually beneficial relationship!”
To see photos from the 2015 International Education Conference & Field Day, view a video here, or the slideshow below.
Photos: Steve Trusty and Jim Novak