Message from the President - One Winter for the Record Books!

Wow, that was, still feels like, one winter for the record books in many parts of western Canada.   For the lower mainland of BC, it was incredible that the Farmer’s Almanac predicted it almost to the hour (I jest) but they did get it close.

For their December forecast it said “Snowstorm” three times and they only missed the dates by a day or two each time.  Although only the 17th most snowfall on record, it was the “gloomiest” March ever recorded, so if you have damage on your turf after the snow cover lifted and with temperatures below seasonal, seed germination was, is still, slow.  Good luck growing it out, I feel your pain.

Many other challenges are also present for the coming year, such as reduced use proposals and deregistration of “older” fungicide chemistries from the PMRA, mandatory water restrictions in various locations and negative perceptions of the turf industry (i.e. ‘Dad and the Dandelions”). We will continue to work hard to influence the various stakeholders and decision makers for the benefit of our members.

There were other reasons for a challenging start to the season. The market was saturated (turfgrass pun intended) with opportunity to learn in British Columbia. So many tradeshows and only limited budgets to attend caused most managers to choose.  Starting with the VIGSA event in November, STMA in January, GIS in February, WCTA in February, BCGSA/CGSA in March, and lastly the USGA in March those, limited budgets, were stretched very thin for both individuals and suppliers. This year, I hope to work with our allied groups to reduce the amount of competition and create more collaboration however, there will still be competition for discretionary spending due to the difficult start to the year. I am sure we have all been told in one way or another to tighten the purse strings.

With that said, it’s important to know that competition, whether its athletics, business, personal achievement, or not-for-profit associations, typically brings the cream to the top. The WCTA is proud to say that we had another successful year ending September 2016 and kept on rolling into 2017 with a well-produced and supported tradeshow and conference.  Our conference budgetary goals were exceeded by over $10K and we anticipate net revenue for the year a modest $3500 (after directing an additional $1500 to turf research) instead of a planned loss of about the same amount.  The Board of Directors and Executive Director wish to thank you, the membership, for your continued support; we will continue to lead this diverse and great industry to the best of our ability.

Although 2017 has had a tough start, there are better days ahead. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a warmer and drier May and seasonal temps, but slightly wetter, for June and July which should mean less pressure on water restrictions.  Take all your holidays in August as the prediction is for drier and warmer.  Right now drier and warmer sounds good, but as Dave Fair would always say to me when times get tough “chin up”, well chin up everyone, let’s try to enjoy the rest of your season.

Respectfully submitted,

Peter Sorokovsky, WCTA President