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Skaggs: Turf Field Day comes to Gainesville June 16
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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 several years, many green industry firms have struggled. They first faced the devastating drought of 2007 & 2008, and like many others, these businesses are now struggling to overcome the economic downturn.

Thankfully, rain has been fairly plentiful this spring, and more commercial and residential clients are beginning to get serious about landscape and turf projects. We hope this trend will continue as green industry agribusinesses have an annual economic impact of $10 billion in Georgia so their survival is important to many communities across the state.

Today’s horticulture and turf industry employs over 100,000 Georgians. As an example of just how large the industry has become, there are currently more than 6,000 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.

The 2010 North Georgia Turfgrass Field Day is set for Wednesday, June 16 at the Gainesville Civic Center and City Park. Gainesville Parks and Recreation is the host of the 2010 Field Day. The goal of the field day is to provide the latest information on turf and landscape topics to Green industry professionals.

This year, topics include turf management, disease management, pesticide safety, management of high-end sports fields, weed control, and a legislative update. Turf Field Day includes outdoor hands-on sessions along with traditional classroom instruction. New this year, Jim Hewitt of the Atlanta Falcons will be on hand to give a pro’s perspective on managing athletic fields for an NFL team.

Other speakers include UGA Turfgrass Specialists Clint Waltz and Patrick McCullough; Mary Kay Woodworth of the Metro Atlanta Landscape & Turf Association; Steve Cole of the Georgia Department of Agriculture; and David Presnell, Turf Manager of historic Bobby Gruhn Field. Since its inception in 2003, more than 700 turf professionals have attended the North Georgia Turfgrass Field Day.

Commercial pesticide credit is offered; six hours in Categories 24 and 21, and 2 hours of private applicator pesticide credit. The cost to attend is $15 ($10 for MALTA & STMA members).

For more information or to register, call Hall County Cooperative Extension at 770-535-8293 or click here.

Billy Skaggs is agriculture agent and county extension coordinator for the UGA Cooperative Extension in Hall County. You can contact him at 770-535-8293, www.hallcounty.org/extension. His column appears biweekly on Thursday’s Business page and at gainesvilletimes.com.

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