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Skaggs: Green jobs are the theme at June 2 Turfgrass Field Day
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It’s a common site across North Georgia: landscape and lawn maintenance employees hard at work in both commercial and residential areas. Over the last two years, many green industry firms have struggled due to the drought.

Thankfully, however, this spring has been a wet one, and landscapes and lawns are lush once again. The rain’s return could not come soon enough for Georgia’s green industry. These agribusinesses have an annual economic impact of $10 billion in Georgia, so their survival is also important to many communities across the state.

Today’s horticulture and turf industry employs more than 100,000 Georgians. As an example of just how large the industry has become, there are more than 6,700 urban agriculture industries in Georgia.

Given our current economic woes, many business owners in the commercial green industry have had to cut back on training for their employees due to difficulty finding affordable agronomic and horticultural instruction. In response to this growing need, Hall County Cooperative Extension, with assistance from the UGA Turf Team, plans and coordinates the annual North Georgia Turfgrass Field Day, set for June 2 at the Gainesville Civic Center and City Park. Gainesville Parks and Recreation will serve as host.

The goal of the event is to provide the latest information on turf and landscape topics to green industry professionals. This year’s topics include turf and disease management, pesticide safety, management of high-end sports fields, turf insect control and new weed control options.

Turf Field Day includes outdoor hands-on sessions along with traditional classroom instruction. New this year is a session titled "Securing a Job in Today’s Green Industry" for those who might be in a transitional period.

The speakers will include UGA Turfgrass specialists Clint Waltz and Alfredo Martinez, Charlie King of KingGreen, Steve Cole of the Georgia Department of Agriculture and Joshua Jackson, turf instructor at North Georgia Technical College.

Since its inception in 2003, more than 600 turf professionals have attended the North Georgia Turfgrass Field Day. Commercial pesticide credit is offered; six hours in Categories 24 and 21, and two hours of private applicator pesticide credit. The cost to attend is $15 ($10 for MALTA members).

For more information or to register, call Hall County Cooperative Extension at 770-535-8293 or go to www.hallcounty.org/
extension.

Billy Skaggs is a Hall County extension agent. He can be reached at 770-531-6988. His column appears biweekly and at gainesvilletimes.com.

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