NTA - President's Message April 2012

12.04.20-NTA-LogoMike Conklin's monthly message as the president of the Northwest Turf Association...

As many are well aware, over the past two years the Northwest Turfgrass Association has endured perhaps its most significant period of turmoil in its 65-year history. The tragic loss of Paul Backman deeply impacted all who knew him and left the association adrift. In addition, the dissolution of the joint membership agreement between the NTA and Oregon Golf Course Superintendents Association and the substantial burden of dealing with an IRS audit (still ongoing) added to our disarray. In the time since all three of these events unfolded, those who have served on the NTA Board have worked hard to re-establish the stability of the association and refocus on the purpose for which it was founded – supporting regional university turfgrass research for the benefit of all.

As we now move forward into 2012, I am pleased to report that the NTA is nearing the point where we are back to business as usual. Our Board has established and been actively working toward many goals in order to return the association to where it needs to be. Our new executive director, Mr. Paul Ramsdell, has done a great job in the time since he was hired in March of 2011 and has made consistent progress identifying and meeting the association's needs.

Perhaps the most important recent accomplishment has been in re-establishing the focus of our Research Committee. John Anderson asked to lead this effort and deserves tremendous thanks for the work he and his committee have completed. This committee has spent considerable time working with the turfgrass professors at Washington State University, Oregon State University and Walla Walla Community College to determine how the NTA can best support their research programs. In addition, the committee now includes Peter Sorokovsky, the Research Committee chair of the Western Canada Turfgrass Association.

With more than $275,000 in current assets, the NTA is on solid financial ground and is eager to provide support to research and education, the need for which has likely never been greater. Through the steady erosion of state funding for all university programs, the importance for our industry to support regional turfgrass research and education has and will continue to grow. The generous financial support received from most of you and our allied golf associations, corporate sponsors and private golf clubs to help fund our Turfgrass Universities Research Fund program is greatly appreciated.

I would like to thank everyone who helped support our conference last year in Pullman. The event was highlighted by the presentation by Dr. Roy Goss. Still sharp as a whip at 86 years of age, Dr. Goss led us through the founding of the NTA in 1947 and presented a slide show detailing the first 50 conferences. Listening to him discuss the names of those who were involved, the topics that were important through the years and where the conferences had been held –– the first 17 in Pullman and then spread throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho and British Columbia –- was very entertaining. The minutes-long standing ovation he received at the conclusion of his presentation must have been one of the best moments enjoyed at an NTA conference in a very long time.

With that, I would like to extend an invitation for all to join us this year when the conference returns to Bandon Dunes on Oct. 28-30. In response to feedback received from our membership, the conference has been moved back a month and every effort has been made to keep the cost of attendance affordable. We are working toward a price point of $550 that will include lodging at the resort. The resort has helped us keep our costs down by generously extended industry pricing for lodging in their package, but do ask that all attendees stay at the resort. By comparison, in 2007, the cost of the conference alone was set at $700 and did not include lodging.

I hope that many of you will make plans to join us in the fall.

Mike Conklin

NTA President 2012

For more about the NTA visit http://www.nwturfgrass.net/