The Ohio Turfgrass Conference & Show took place last week in Columbus, where 2,410 people from the turf industry came together for the tradeshow and educational sessions. In addition to The Ohio Turfgrass Foundation (OTF), several other industry associations are involved at the conference, including the Ohio Sports Turf Managers Association (OSTMA), Ohio Lawn Care Association (OLCA), and the Ohio Sod Producers. Highlights of the conference included a keynote address by National Geographic photographer, Dick Durrance and the annual Ohio Turfgrass Research Trust auction, where $17,000 was raised to support turfgrass research, education and Extension in Ohio.

In addition to the auction money raised, industry associations awarded monetary funds and gave recognition to the turfgrass faculty and staff at Ohio State. This support is crucial for the turfgrass team to continue running their research, teaching and Extension programs.

* OTF awarded $19,500 in student scholarships and pledged continued support for the turfgrass research facility at Ohio State

* OLCA awarded $3,000 in scholarships and $7,500 in research support. New this year, OLCA also recognised the “Applicator of the Year”

* OSTMA awarded $2,000 in scholarships (one of those recipients was Ohio State turf major, Robbie Dworkin, left), and $1,500 for sports turf Extension & research efforts at Ohio State.  At the OSTMA annual meeting, Dr. Dave Gardner (right), an Associate Professor of Turfgrass Science at Ohio State was awarded the 2009 Founders Award for outstanding commitment, leadership and initiative in the sports turf industry. Dr. Gardner has supported OSTMA for the last 10-years, first by serving on the board, then by speaking at conferences, writing newsletter articles and offering technical advice on sports turf research findings. He also advises many of the sports turf students.

In the current economic climate, where many conferences are struggling and industry support is becomming more difficult to procure, it is a testament to Ohio’s green industry that they continue to soldier on and see value in our efforts.  The turfgrass science team at Ohio State is grateful for this, not just for the monetary support we receive but for the steadfast and sincere collegiality that we share.