SHORT CUTS

HANDHELD GASOLINE POWERED EQUIPMENT TO REBALANCE OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS

According to industry estimates, overall shipments of hand-held products (handheld blowers, backpack blowers, trimmers and chain saws) are forecast to post moderate growth during calendar year 2005, reaching 12.2 million units. Shipments of these products are forecast to contract 4.4 percent during 2006. Even though annual shipments for handheld products will be lower in 2007 than 2006, the recovery will be well underway in the second half of 2007.

Factors impacting the expected slow period include: the still-high federal budget deficit, continued record prices for a barrel of oil and an expected slow-down in the new and existing home markets (brought on by higher interest rates).

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For 2005, most all handheld products will see growth except for handheld blowers. In 2007, the overall decline will not be as significant and handheld blowers will be on the rebound as the only handheld product forecast to increase over 2006. For all products combined, however, shipments will fall 1.6 percent from 2006 to 2007, totaling 11.4 million units for the year.

Source: Outdoor Power Equipment Institute

PLANET PARTICIPATES IN WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING

The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) recently announced that Tom Delaney, director of government affairs, and PLANET legislative consultant Lauri Flanagan with D.C. Legislative & Regulatory Services, Inc., attended a senior-level White House briefing on comprehensive immigration reform. The invitation-only briefing was conducted by Barry Jackson, deputy assistant to the president and deputy to the senior advisor (Karl Rove); Steven Law, deputy secretary of labor; and Ken Hill, Department of Homeland Security executive secretary.

During the briefing, Jackson, Law and Hill outlined President George Bush's principles for immigration reform. The President believes that comprehensive reform must include three key elements: gain control of our borders, build a robust interior enforcement program and establish an effective temporary worker program.

President Bush also asked White House staff to develop an immigration program that includes all three elements based on the following principles: protecting the homeland, restoring the rule of law, recognizing that amnesty encourages violations of law and perpetuates illegal immigration, serving the economic needs of our nation and honoring our nation's history of openness to legal immigration.

“I felt this was a beneficial meeting, explained Delaney. “It clearly spoke to the fact that the Administration is focused on immigration issues and is seeking our input.” Added Delaney, “This should help us with our H-2B issues as well.”

CALIFORNIA TASKFORCE RECOMMENDS CERTIFICATION

A California task force looking at water use in landscapes is recommending statewide certification for landscape irrigation managers, according to the group's report.

“We applaud the task force for focusing on certification,” said Irrigation Association (IA) executive director Tom Kimmell. “A rigorous certification program like the ones offered by the IA can assure those involved in designing, installing and maintaining irrigation understand and follow best practices for water management.”

The task force report calls for the IA to work with California water and landscape organizations to create a certification for landscape irrigation managers by 2008. The certification should cover landscape water management, water budgets and irrigation system maintenance, and it should include continuing education, according to the report.

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