From the President - Membership Dollars at Work

16.01.14-Jason. PickIn my last report, I offered some insights into the function of associations, the progression of services and the need for association growth and diversification.  In this report, I’ll share a quick ‘behind the scenes’ look at your membership dollars at work.

The philosophy around the WCTA mission is to represent all turfgrass management professionals in their respective sectors.  Whether we’re talking about pesticide bans or water restrictions, we actively advocate major issues that could negatively impact some or all of our membership sectors.  

Recent pressures regarding chlorothalonil and water use in Metro Vancouver have required rapid actions.  These challenges have provided an opportunity for me to share how we, as an industry representative association, respond to government regulatory changes affecting our business.

A calculated approach must be taken before your association can address what comes our way as each issue represents a substantial investment of both board and staff resources.  For instance, dedicating time to undertake an industry water use survey paints an accurate picture of what’s really happening (instead of being assumptive) and we gain information supportive of our lobby efforts to change a government’s approach from restrictive regulation to one of resource management.   

In another example, devising a course of action for a Health Canada submission involves long hours researching potential negative impacts of product label changes, gathering data on how/when a product is being used in our industry and determining what information might help decision-makers better understand our needs.

Fortunately, we’re not alone.  In many cases, multiple associations working in unison can create a joint or collaborative message.  A single, powerful response from all stakeholders may profoundly impact or even circumvent restrictions that place unnecessary burden on our industry.  As you have seen over the last few weeks, partnerships like these require significant coordination to produce effective messaging that occasionally, is needed with great urgency.

To understand effective lobbying, one must realize that government agencies almost always want to speak to one group rather than multiple voices.  As an inter-provincial association spanning multiple turf industry sectors, the WCTA can and will continue directing time, money and expertise toward (successful) industry advocacy campaigns.  Like a rising tide lifts all boats, all sectors of the industry will benefit even if the true expense of such a campaign is carried by your regional association(s).

Looking to the long term, additional projects underway include our “First Green” incentive. To coin a phrase by Kris Jonasson from the BC Golf Association, “This is the future of golf.”

Our recent collaboration with the Township of Langley to create the first, ‘First Green Sportsfield Edition’, shows where working together and sharing ideas can lead.  This accurately describes another example of how the WCTA cultivates our involvement in projects which promote the turfgrass industry as a whole and help shape its future.  

As you reflect upon this brief report, I hope you have gained a better understanding of several ‘behind the scenes’ activities of your association, and recognize how these incentives make us unique. The WCTA defends the essential tools of your trade, focuses on the future and pursues the security of our membership and its profession, in every sector.