Hundreds of lawncare professionals, sports field and golf course managers filled the Meadows Conference Center this week for the 2020 Iowa Turfgrass Conference and Tradeshow, Iowa’s premier event for the turfgrass industry, presented by the Iowa Turfgrass Institute.
Adam Thoms, assistant professor in the Department of Horticulture with Iowa State University, said the Turfgrass Conference is a great place for attendees to educate themselves on turf management and the turfgrass industry.
First, a large part of the conference is networking with other attendees, which allows everyone to learn how others in the industry addressed problems and issues that arose this year. Second, industry members learn from the diverse formal educational sessions that are offered. These educational sessions were broken down into three categories: golf courses, sports turf and lawn care. Each session gave information on a range of topics, from tank mixing, blade sharpening to human resources education.
Some examples include experts like Steve Cesare from The Harvest Group, a landscape business consulting firm based in Connecticut, who gave multiple presentations on the correct paperwork you need, including employee handbooks, I-9 forms and worker’s comp information, as well as best practices for human resource policies. Josiah Cherry, from KJK LawnCare Inc., located in Omaha, spoke to attendees on what kind of work they could be doing during the winter, like
snow plowing, Christmas light decoration and house flipping, which enables those in the industry to bring in income during the off season. Golf course specialists also educated conference goers about course construction, water movement in soil and keeping bedknives and reels sharpened. Iowa State University experts also gave presentations that covered pesticide safety, interoperating soil test results, calibrating equipment and proper identification of pests.
The third opportunity for education came from the tradeshow, where attendees could see all the newest products available.
“The tradeshow offers a chance for vendors and attendees to see the newest products and offerings to help with turfgrass management,” Thoms said. “This also gives the attendees a chance to talk about what is working well with products they bought the year before and what didn’t work well, giving vendors valuable feedback.”
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