Turfgrass producers from around the world gather in Houston for TPI International Education Conference & Field Day
Cool weather didn’t hamper the warmth and enthusiasm that prevailed at TPI’s 2016 International Education Conference & Field Day that took place February 22-25 in Houston, Texas.
A great education program, numerous networking opportunities, plenty of exhibitors and an outstanding Field Day at All Seasons Turf Grass in nearby Brookshire, Texas welcomed more than 600 attendees who represented over 100 turfgrass farms. On hand were TPI members from Australia, Canada, England, Israel, Norway, Russian Federation, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden and the United States.
A pre-conference seminar presented by Dr. Todd Creasy, Western Carolina University, addressed the Power of People and how to select, develop and retain employees.
Keynote speaker, Greg Johnson, a respected storm chaser known as the “Tornado Hunter” captivated the audience with breathtaking images and an inspirational message of how the human spirit and the very best in people arises following the devastation of a natural disaster.
Two days of education provided those in attendance with the opportunity to attend numerous breakout sessions. Craig Regelbrugge, senior vice president of Industry Advocacy & Research from AmericanHort provided insight into immigration issues that could impact farm operations; a panel discussion led by Sharon Davidson, RST of Agri Seed Testing, Inc. gave those in attendance a better grasp of understanding seed test results and interpreting seed labels, and another session featured a select panel of turfgrass producers who addressed the importance of making sales while maximizing value.
Dr. Jay McCurdy. Mississippi State University addressed weed control, new herbicides, and the future of sod production. Ralph Egues of the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance addressed the role Hispanics play in agriculture and the need to address numerous organizations that want to influence and/or limit the use of turfgrass nationwide. Dr. Jeff Beasley, Louisiana State University, provided a timely update on how turfgrass is strengthening the levees in New Orleans and what it could mean to turfgrass producers.
Show and Tell presentations by TPI members: Randy Jasperson of Jasperson Sod Farm, Wisconsin; Steve Griffen of Saratoga Sod Farm, Stillwater New York, and John Coombs of Coombs Sod Farms, Elmer, New Jersey, all provided the audience with insight into their business and farming operation.
TPI’s Field Day featured in-field demonstrations showcasing the latest advances in equipment. Exhibits at the Hyatt Regency Houston, the host hotel, offered attendees an opportunity to network and meet with a wide variety of turfgrass industry product representatives.
Jimmy Fox of Evergreen Turf in Chandler, Arizona commented, “It was a great week with friends and industry professionals learning how to run our businesses better, and reminding each other of the great benefits that turfgrass brings to our environment.”
Steve and Laurie Griffen of Saratoga Sod Farm echoed similar sentiments stating, “The Turfgrass Producers International Conference and Field Day was a great educational experience; a unique opportunity to meet and learn from turf producers throughout the U.S. and abroad.”
Turfgrass Producers International is as an independent, not-for-profit association comprised of more than 700 turfgrass sod and seed producers, equipment manufacturers, suppliers, and other professionals involved in turf-related education and research. TPI has members in 44 countries worldwide.