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USDA Proposes NTEP Budget Cut

For the fourth year in a row, the United States Department of Agriculture has eliminated NTEP from its budget for the upcoming fiscal year (FY2000). USDA funding does not go directly to NTEP. Instead, it is used to "rent" facilities (offices, greenhouse, seed storage, etc.) at the USDA, Beltsville, MD. This "funding" or in-kind support of $55,000 represents only about 8% of NTEP's budget. However, if lost, the very important linkage of NTEP and USDA may be threatened.

In the past, the turfgrass industry has been successful in restoring NTEP funds during the Congressional budgeting process. This success has resulted largely from support by the members of such diverse groups as the Turfgrass Producers International (TPI), Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), United States Golf Association (USGA), Professional Lawn Care Association of America (PLCAA) and many state and local turfgrass organizations. Many have contacted their congressional representatives in support of NTEP. The response in the past has been overwhelming (and humbling!) and much appreciated by us!

Again this year, we will be asking for a strong response from the turfgrass industry. Please watch Newsline for further information. Thanks again for your past support.

Current NTEP
Policy Committee

Association Representatives:

American Seed Trade Association
(Lawn Seed Division)
Dr. Doug Brede, Jacklin Seed Co.

Golf Course Superintendents
Association of America
Dr. Jeffrey Nus

Turfgrass Breeders Association
Dr. Don Floyd, Pickseed West, Inc.

Turfgrass Producers International
Mr. Ike Thomas, Thomas Bros. Grass

United States Golf Association
Green Section
Dr. Michael Kenna

Regional Representatives:

Dr. Peter Landschoot
     Penn State University

Dr. David Chalmers
     Virginia Tech University

North Central
Dr. Thomas Fermanian
     University of Illinois

Dr. Anthony Koski
     Colorado State University

Ex-Officio Members

NTEP Executive Director
Mr. Kevin Morris

NTEP Special Projects Coordinator
Dr. Robert Shearman
      University of Nebraska

Policy Committee
Meets in Orlando

The NTEP Policy Committee met most recently during the GCSAA Conference in Orlando, FL. Following are some of the items discussed at the meeting:

On-site bentgrass and bermuda trials - the trials are doing well and are popular with the host clubs and superintendents. Stimpmeter readings have been difficult to collect at some sites therefore new guidelines for data collection need to be written.

On-site overseeding trial - USGA and GCSAA pledged financial support therefore, the Policy Committee voted to conduct the trial. Testing fees were set at $4,000 per entry ($2,000 per year for two years) and payments to cooperators were agreed to be $16,000 total ($8,000 per year for two years). (See story on page one)

New perennial ryegrass trial - the committee approved advisory committee recommendations on locations, standard entries, seeding rates and the three management regimes proposed. They considered a proposal for 6-8 official test sites with traffic but reduced the number to 2-4 ancillary studies. (See story on page three)

• Evaluation of genetically - engineered grasses - the committee stressed the need for accurate evaluations of these new grasses and for NTEP to actively seek input from development companies on this issue.

The next Policy Committee meeting will be held June 8-9 in Post Falls, ID. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or concerns about NTEP, please contact one of the committee members in the box to the left.

Thanks to the Policy Committee members for all their time and efforts!

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