National Turfgrass Research Initiative Web Site Is Up And Running

Details and updates concerning the National Turfgrass Research Initiative can now be found at http://www.turfinitiative.org or http://www.turfresearch.org. This $32.4 million Initiative is a cooperative effort between the USDA, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and the turfgrass industry. The purpose of this Initiative is to educate legislators, administrators and others of the value of the turfgrass industry and the critical needs it faces.

The research needs contained in this Initiative originated from a workshop conducted by the USDA-ARS in January 2002. At that workshop, golf course superintendents, lawn care operators, seed and sod producers, athletic field and park managers, irrigation specialists, researchers and others came together to offer their insights on the turfgrass industry research needs and how the federal government may be able to address those needs. Since that time, representatives from USDA-ARS, the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP), United States Golf Association (USGA), Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), Turfgrass Producers International (TPI), Professional Lawn Care Association of America (PLCAA), the Irrigation Association (IA) and universities have worked hard to revise and refine those insights and formulate them into this broad-based Initiative.

The following six broad research component areas have been identified and incorporated into the Turfgrass Initiative: 1) Improvement of Water Management Strategies and Practices, 2) Collection, Enhancement and Preservation of Turfgrass Germplasm, 3) Improvement of Pest Management Practices, 4) Understanding and Improvement of Turfgrass’ Role in the Environment, 5) Enhancement of Soil and Soil Management Practices and 6) Development of Integrated Turf Management Systems.

USDA-ARS has been chosen to be the coordinating organization in this research effort. ARS, with over 2,000 scientists and 100 research locations, can contribute uniquely and significantly to turfgrass research because of its commitment to long-term research to achieve economic and environmental sustainability. The Turfgrass Initiative proposes that research teams be developed, involving ARS and university researchers, to maximize cooperation and scientific expertise. A significant portion of the funding for this Initiative will be directed to university researchers and laboratories.

The new web site provides information on the details of the Initiative, its purposes, procedures and how it will function. The funding level requested from Congress for fiscal year 2005/06 is included on the web site along with the twelve priority research positions requested and their description. Also, found on the new web site is a Microsoft Power Point presentation and a map showing the turfgrass research regions as defined by ARS and its turfgrass industry cooperators.

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