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NYSTA History

MS Word copy

History of the New York State Turfgrass Association
by Denise Lewis, PR Coordinator

In the Beginning:  (1949-1950)
The New York State Turfgrass Association was formed at the Second Annual Cornell Turf Conference in Ithaca on March 4, 1949.  The original name was the New York State Turf Association.  John Farnsworth Cornman, Professor of Ornamental Horticulture, was one of the founding members and leading force behind the formation of the association.  Teaching, research and extension activities in turfgrass management were started at Cornell in 1940 under his direction.  Although the annual turf conference was still in its infancy, it was decided that they would form an association to “develop an attitude of solidarity among persons interested in turf;   encourage the betterment of conditions in the field of turf culture in the State of New York; to handle collectively the problems of turf growers; to disseminate information concerning activities and practices in the field of turf culture; and generally to further sound learning and adequate instruction in the field.”
The Board of Directors was chosen from the New York State Turf Advisory Committee which had been appointed several years earlier.  Golf course superintendents played an important role since the inception of the Association.  The first president was John Gormley, Wolferts Roost Country Club.  He also served as president in 1956, the year the first state-wide educational committee was formed.  One of the first priorities of the association was the publication of a periodical dealing with matters of interest in the field of turf culture.
The New York State Turfgrass Bulletin was developed and authored by Dr. Cornman for 22 years.  It was published until 2002 when a switch to digital communication became more prevalent.  He also started Cornell Recommendations for Turfgrass Pest Control and Cultural Management in 1963, a publication that is still available to NYSTA members on the Cornell web site. He insisted that all recommendations be based on sound science and his research brought him great industry respect.  For 26 years, Dr. Cornman was active in the planning and development of the Annual Cornell Turfgrass Conferences.  A NYSTA scholarship was later named in his honor.   In 1979, Dr. Cornman was the second person ever to receive the New York State Turfgrass Association’s Citation of Merit award for his 33 years of service to Cornell University and the turf industry. The award is given to a person who demonstrates the following qualities:  dedication to turfgrass research and education, involvement in and support of association activities, interest in promoting careers in the turfgrass industry, community involvement, and admiration and respect of peers and colleagues. 
The 1950’s: Unprecedented Growth and Organization
Increasing membership was also a goal for NYSTA.  In May of 1949, there were just over 100 members.  By December of 1950, membership had increased to 375 paid members made up mostly of golf course superintendents.  In 1950, NYSTA’s second president, Al Schardt, Wanaka Golf Course, outlined a plan of action for the future.  He wanted to increase membership to 500, expand research and education at Cornell and conduct a survey of the turf industry in New York State.  His first two goals were met fairly quickly, however, the third goal would wait until the new millennium to be fulfilled.
Grant endowments to Cornell University began in 1950 for turf research and education.  Since then, NYSTA has expanded the grants program to include SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Delhi, and the University of Massachusetts.  Nearly $1,200,000 in grant appropriations have been awarded since 1992. 
In 1955, the turf research plots were established at Cornell University to enhance data collection and provide more accurate information to members.  Another example of how Mr. Schardt’s objectives were met includes the proposal and passing of the first undergraduate scholarship at the 1958 annual meeting.  The award would be made to a “promising and capable student in the College of Agriculture whose interest is to make some phase of turfgrass management his profession.”
The decade of the 1950’s saw unprecedented growth for the newly formed Association.  The final major change came at the 1959 annual meeting when the name was officially changed to the name used today:  New York State Turfgrass Association.
The 1960’s: Activism and Accomplishment
In 1960, Lynn Kellogg of Oak Hill Country Club was elected president, and held the position in 1961.  That was the year the New York State Legislature and Governor Rockefeller appropriated funds for turfgrass research at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station at Geneva.  The budget item for turfgrass research provided approximately $15,000 per year.  This had been allocated to provide a faculty position at Cornell, a field assistant to take charge of maintenance of the Ithaca research plots, and about $3,000 in cash operating funds.  According to an article in NYSTA’s Bulletin, the event “marked the successful culmination of more than a dozen years of effort by the New York State Turfgrass Association to provide better facilities for studies in turfgrass problems in New York State.  Many members of the Turfgrass Association, through contacts with their congressional representatives and other influential persons, did much to build up the information and background material necessary to call this important matter to the attention of the legislators.” 
The 1970’s:  Continuity and Evolution
In 1974 and 1975, Edwin S. Brown of Lewiston held the office of president.  During this time, committees were established to direct the development of the 1974 Cornell Turfgrass Conference, the NYSTA Bulletin and the applied turfgrass research program at Cornell.  The 1974 conference had a capacity attendance of around 300 people at the Statler Inn on the Cornell Campus where the event had been held every year.  It was decided that it must be moved to a new location, and Syracuse was the home of the 1975 annual conference.  From this point on, the conference would be located in various cities throughout the state including Port Chester, Albany, Rochester and Syracuse.  In the years that followed, the attendance numbers would grow exponentially.
In 1976, Howard Pidduck, Research Support Specialist at Cornell University, helped to establish the Turfgrass Field Research Laboratory at Cornell.  He was later honored by NYSTA with their Citation of Merit award for his work maintaining the 10-acre turfgrass research center, designing and installing the irrigation system, conducting research throughout the State, and contributing articles to the NYSTA Bulletin.                                                
Melvin B. Lucas, Jr. served as president in 1978 and 1979, the year the conference became known as the New York State Turfgrass Association Conference and Trade Show.  Mr. Lucas was instrumental in the formation and growth of the trade show and a substantial increase in membership.  When he was honored in 1987 with the Citation of Merit award, it was noted that Mel was responsible for the “spark that was ignited which led that group from a small nucleus of interested turf professionals to its current membership of 850.  The first trade show was held during Mel’s presidency in 1979, has grown to 185 booths and 1,300 attending in a short six years.”


 

The 1980’s:
Strides in Education and Fundraising;
The 1980’s began in a routine manner.  NYSTA continued to strive to educate members and provide funds for expanded research.  In 1982, the first NYSTA/John Cornman Scholarship was awarded to those pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in the area of turfgrass science.  The scholarship was established to encourage outstanding undergraduate students at Cornell University.  In addition, the first Poa Annual Golf Tournament, sponsored by NYSTA, the Central New York Golf Course Superintendents Association and the Finger Lakes Association of Golf Course Superintendents, was held at the Radisson Green Golf Club to benefit Cornell University turfgrass research programs.
The Poa tournament was so successful that by 1984, the program was expanded to include “upstate” and “downstate” tournaments.  The Poa Upstate Tournament was held outside of Syracuse, and the new Poa Downstate Tournament, co-sponsored by the Hudson Valley Golf Course Superintendents Association, was held in Suffern so that “it would be geographically possible for anyone in the state to participate.”  In 1986, additional Poa tournaments were added including one in the Albany area and a separate tournament for commercial members.  The Poa tournaments, which are still held each year, generate thousands of dollars that are donated for turf research.  Another event that happened in 1986 was the change of the conference name to the Empire State Turf and Grounds Exposition.
The 1980’s ended the way it began with NYSTA continuing to support turf education in New York.  In 1989, SUNY Cobleskill dedicated a new turfgrass building that was made possible with NYSTA’s financial support.  NYSTA contributed $26,000 of the $35,000 project total and donated a computer, printer and monitor to the turfgrass program.  A plaque was unveiled at the dedication ceremony honoring Citation of Merit winner, Dr. Ralph Smalley, who started SUNY Cobleskill’s turfgrass curriculum in 1962.  A second plaque in the building acknowledges NYSTA for its financial support.  NYSTA also awarded SUNY Delhi with a $4,800 award to fund a student internship program and research projects.

Political Attack and Coalition Building

Elizabeth Seme

No other event in the 1980’s, however, would have a greater impact on NYSTA than the passage of Title 10, the Lawn Care Bill, that occurred in 1987 when Jack Sloane was in his second year as president.  1987 was the year the Environmental Conservation Law was passed and regulations were written requiring commercial pesticide applicators to have signed contracts with every customer and to post signs every 12 feet around the perimeter of a treated area 48 hours prior to each application.  It was also the year that Elizabeth Seme became the Executive Director for the New York State Turfgrass Association, which was not, by the way, a coincidence.  The NYSTA board reached out to Beth because of her background as the Horticulture Extension Agent for Albany County Cornell Cooperative Extension. In that position, she was responsible for setting up public awareness programs, publishing press releases, delivering radio briefs, initiating press coverage and programming events such as field days.  The NYSTA board took notice and asked her to apply for the Executive Director position.  They knew she had the communication and organizational skills to assist in the legal struggles and to effectively run the Association. 

The 1987 Lawn Care Bill instigated a legal battle between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the applicator industry.  As Executive Director, a position she continues to hold, Beth was instrumental in recommending direction and strategies for reaching client goals and communicating association issues to legislators.  She worked closely with the Board of Directors, and NYSTA became a major contributor in the litigation to defend commercial applicators who had become the target of these burdensome posting regulations.  The industry reacted by forming the New York State Pesticide Coalition, a group comprised of allied green industry organizations.  In 1988, NYSTA also actively supported the New York State Green Council which represented the industry’s concerns on legislative issues, pesticides and environmental concerns.  After a two year struggle, the regulations were struck down in 1989.
Beth published an article in the 1989 issue of Turf News which gave an update on the 1983 and 1987 Lawn Care Laws.  She appealed to industry members to support the New York State Pesticide Coalition so that they would be ready to handle the next round of political attacks.  She wrote, “We need a financially sound vehicle that can represent the industry, initiate and respond to future pesticide issues.”  The member support she was able to garner paved the way for what would become NYSTA’s Annual Turfgrass Advocacy Day.    
Beth’s leadership also involves promotion and representation at conferences, field days, statewide education seminars and allied association meetings.  She recognizes the key element of success for the Association and profession is involvement.  In her first year as Executive Director, the Turf & Grounds Exposition broke all records to date with an attendance over 1,600 and over 280 exhibitor booths.
In 2001, Beth was the recipient of Lawn & Landscape magazine’s Leadership Award.  She was recognized for successfully leading the industry effort to defeat the neighbor notification law, promoting the legislative interests of lawn care professionals, and playing an instrumental role in growing the Association.  In her published profile, Lawn & Landscape summed up her commitment in this way, “Immediately, NYSTA plowed into the legislative currents, with Seme at the helm to absorb information, mobilize state associations into a united front, which became the New York State Green Council, and consult with lawyers to determine the industry’s next move.  Her thorough preparation and professional approach molded a solid reputation for both her and NYSTA, which actively was growing membership and promoting events during the political sideshow.  The fire - the drive – in green industry professionals sparks her desire to work as their ambassador and educator.  Seme’s intensity drives her to constantly seek new avenues to explore the industry – to learn, manage and make an impact.”  In the article, Beth said, “There are obstacles and challenges, and if you are willing to accept them and make a commitment, you can become a leader.”
The 1990’s – Leadership and Cooperation

Stephen Smith

Steve Smith became president of NYSTA in 1990.  After his election, he cited education and the environment as the keys to his administration.  His goal was the education of NYSTA members, the general public and the state legislature.  He said, “The future of the green industry and the environment is one of the major concerns for the coming decade.  Industry is in a position to help state lawmakers create the best legislation to protect and enhance the environment while maintaining turf to enjoy.”
The innovative matching funds program at Cornell that led the way for the New York Turfgrass Foundation was spearheaded by Steve Smith.  The program began in 1986 in response to a challenge from Cornell University.  In 1987 and 1988, NYSTA contributed $15,000 that was matched by Cornell.  By 1989, the amount donated that was matched was $29,200.  NYSTA recognized the importance of supporting the growing turfgrass research program at Cornell and the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station at Geneva. 
During Steve’s term, NYSTA co-sponsored a seminar at SUNY Delhi called, “Golf Course Construction and Renovation.”  In addition to education sessions, a tournament was held at the Delhi College Golf Course, the only two-year college golf course in the northeast where turf management majors get “hands-on” experience maintaining the facility.   According to Dominic Morales, Professor and Dean of the Applied Sciences and Recreation Division at Delhi College, “It’s a tremendous advantage for our students because employers don’t have time for on-the-job training.  They need graduates who can go right to work!”  Before the end of the decade, NYSTA would provide the funds to expand the golf course and construct a new turf education building at SUNY Delhi.
Steve Smith also served as president in 1996 and 1997.  At that time, NYSTA experienced an all-time high attendance record at the annual conference in Rochester with over 1,800 people. 1996 was also the year that Frank Rossi, Ph.D., joined Cornell University with NYSTA’s financial support.  The Association provided a $30,000/3-year appropriation for his position as the Associate Professor of Turfgrass Science and New York Extension Turfgrass Specialist.  Referring to Dr. Rossi’s position, Dr. George Good, Chair of the Department of Ornamental Horticulture at Cornell University, expressed that the relationship that exists between NYSTA and Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is one that is “serving notice to other organizations as to the positive difference that such a relationship can make in terms of quality research and extension outreach.”  
In 2000, Steve was honored with NYSTA’s Citation of Merit award for his 20 years of service in the turf industry.  Steve was one of the organizers of the first Poa tournament held in the Hudson Valley and of NYSTA’s Southeast Regional Conference.  In 1999, he launched the successful Sullivan County Challenge golf tournament which has raised nearly $100,000 in the past ten years for turfgrass research and to support NYSTA’s legislative efforts.  After his passing in 2007, the Sullivan County Challenge also became known as the Steve Smith Memorial Tournament.
Michael Maffei, CGCS
In 1992, Michael Maffei, CGCS, Back O’Beyond Inc., was elected president.  He also served in 1993, 2006 and 2007.  One of his first major accomplishments was signing a Memorandum of Understanding between Cornell University and NYSTA to establish the New York Turfgrass Foundation.  The Foundation is a perpetual endowment fund initiated to ensure the future of turf research and education in New York.  Cornell agreed to annually contribute an equal amount not to exceed $50,000.  This arrangement continued until the fund began generating $50,000 in interest income each year, which is used to provide grants for Cornell turfgrass research.  Individual members, businesses, friends and corporations have made donations which currently total nearly $946,000.
Another first order of business for Michael was a meeting in 1992 with SUNY Delhi president, Mary Ellen Duncan, and Professor Dominic Morales.  The purpose of the meeting was to explore ways to accommodate SUNY Delhi’s rapidly expanding turf program as more students enrolled in the Turf Management curriculum.  After the meeting, the NYSTA board made a commitment to fund the construction of a turf management facility which was completed in 1994.  In 1996, NYSTA also supported the expansion of the back ”9” holes of the course.  At a 1996 dedication ceremony, Professor Morales said, “NYSTA provided the lead donation ($15,000 in 1992 and $15,000 in 1993) for construction of our new Turf Education Center.  They also pledged $35,000 to the golf course expansion.  In recognition of their support, the 13th hole was dedicated in honor of the New York State Turfgrass Association.”
Michael received NYSTA’s Citation of Merit award in 2001 for his service on the NYSTA Board since 1988 and his participation in public policy.  Michael also serves on the boards of the Council of Agricultural Organizations and the New York Alliance for Environmental Concerns.  When it became clear that downstate Assemblymen were taking an interest in pesticide notification issues, he coordinated a letter writing campaign to express NYSTA’s views to them and he rallied support from allied associations.  Michael also played a pivotal role in the legal wrangling over the definition of the word, “golf course,” as it related to Environmental Conservation Law, Article 33, Title 10.  When New York State DEC tried to change the definition so that golf courses would not be exempt from the law, he sprang into action.  After garnering support from Senator Marcellino and signatures from 23 legislators, DEC made a determination that no further elaboration with regard to the definition of golf course was needed.   His actions saved golf courses and the state from incalculable expenditures in time and money that would have been needed to implement this unfounded regulation.  He was awarded for his efforts with the 2008 Excellence in Government Relations Award in the Advocacy Category by the GCSAA Government Advocacy and Compliance Committee.
Michael was one of the founding members of NYSTA’s annual Turfgrass Advocacy Day which forged the way for the Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Fund.   While he was president, the 2006-2007 and the 2007-2008 New York State legislative budgets both contained a $175,000 legislative appropriation.  Under the presidency of NYSTA president, Owen Regan, the 2007-2008 New York State budget contained a $164,500 legislative appropriation.  The funds, administered by the New York State Turfgrass Association, are distributed in the form of grants which include research that will ultimately assist golf course superintendents with best management practices.              
Peter P. Hahn
In 1994, Peter P. Hahn was posthumously awarded NYSTA’s Citation of Merit award.  He held the position of Vice President at the time of his passing.  Since then, a scholarship has been initiated in his honor and each year a golf tournament is organized by the Finger Lakes Association of Golf Course Superintendents to support the Hahn Memorial Scholarships.  These scholarships are presented annually at the Empire State Green Industry Show. 
Stephen V. Moffett, III
Citation of Merit award winner, Stephen V. Moffett, passed away in 1996.  He was a member of NYSTA since 1976, Board Member and Trade Show Chairman.  Stephen ran his family’s turf and irrigation equipment business, which was then called S.V. Moffett Company, leading it through historic growth.  He was a generous supporter of college turfgrass programs and his donations have helped to keep New York colleges and universities with first-rate equipment.   In 1989, his firm donated golf course maintenance equipment valued at over $50,000 to Delhi’s turf management program.  It was his wish to continue contributing after his death.  Each year, three $1,000 Stephen V. Moffett, III scholarships are awarded at the NYSTA conference to students enrolled in colleges with academic programs related to turfgrass science.
2000-The New Millennium
Joseph Hahn, CGCS
Joseph Hahn, CGCS, Oak Hill Country Club, became president of NYSTA in 2000.  In 1998, he launched an endowment campaign to assist in reaching the $1 million goal of the New York Turfgrass Foundation.  As Superintendent of a well respected golf facility, he experienced firsthand the benefits of hiring turf students right out of college who already had several years of course maintenance experience through their education.  “Experiencing the power of this research first hand” inspired him to become a member and eventually he became president.  He was passionate about increasing research funding so that students would continue to enter the workforce without a lot of training necessary and golf maintenance crews could receive the most up-to-date knowledge available from expert turf scientists.  He invited “Foundation Club” members to make annual contributions at various giving levels ranging from $100 to $1,000 per year.  In 2008, an appreciation dinner was given at NYSTA’s annual conference to honor those who donated to the Foundation Club faithfully over the past ten years.  Joe Hahn also worked closely with NYSTA throughout the years providing assistance with conferences in the Rochester area.  He continues to attend every annual conference, awarding Hahn Memorial Scholarships, which honor his nephew, Matthew, and his brother, Peter, to deserving turf students. 
Turfgrass Advocacy Day
The first NYSTA Turfgrass Advocacy Day was held in February of 2000.  After the legal battles of the 1980’s and 1990’s, board members prioritized legislative issues and decided that a special event was needed.  It is held at the State Capitol in Albany each year.  The purpose is to review issues and advocacy strategies that promote the interest of the turfgrass industry and meet directly with legislators to voice concerns.  Participants are also given the opportunity to hear legislative updates concerning the turfgrass industry.  In 2010, the important issues discussed included:  the New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI).  NYFVI is dedicated to serving agricultural and horticultural producers by supporting applied research, education, information transfer, technology adoption and market analysis to reduce practical barriers to the success of agricultural and horticultural interests.  Other issues included the restoration of funding in the New York State Budget for the Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Fund for on-going turf research;  Pesticide regulations for schools  and the promotion of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques as an environmentally sensitive maintenance approach; Adoption of a state definition of IPM; the New York Golf Economy Report; the use of “Less than Label Rates,”  which refers to a bill that permits commercial applicators to apply pesticides in a dosage, concentration or frequency less than specified on the labeling; and the “Water Withdrawal Permitting” bill which authorizes the Department of Environmental Conservation to implement  a withdrawal permitting program to regulate the use of the State’s water resources.
Steve Griffen  
In 2003, Steve Griffen, Co-owner of Saratoga Sod Farm, Inc., was elected as president of NYSTA.  He was and is very involved in the political issues affecting the turf industry.  After the Pesticide Neighbor Notification Law was signed by Governor Pataki on August 21, 2000, Steve wrote, “While the enactment of this law was a disappointment, we did have some victories.  Agriculture, cemeteries and golf courses were exempted...The best thing we did was to form coalitions with other industry groups that were working towards the same goal.  As a result of our efforts, NYSTA’s Annual Turfgrass Advocacy Day was born which has proven to be a very effective tool in our continuing efforts to be pro-active and involved.”  Another positive to emerge was the formation of the New York Alliance for Environmental Concerns (NYAFEC) which is chaired by Larry Wilson.  NYAFEC evolved from the former Pesticide Coalition and includes an effective lobbyist who advocates for the turf industry in Albany.  According to Wilson, “Our immediate objective was to establish an effective, daily professional presence in Albany.”
Steve Griffen would later receive NYSTA’s Citation of Merit award for his involvement in the political process and the policy decisions that affect green industry professionals.  In 1991, Steve Griffen joined the Council of Agricultural Organizations (CAO) as NYSTA’s representative.  By 2006, he was chair of CAO, an organization that has enabled its members to develop a united effort on local, state and national issues affecting the viability of agriculture in New York State.
New York Turfgrass Survey
NYSTA’s second president, Al Schardt, would have his goal for a turf survey fulfilled in 2004.  That year, NYSTA began conducting the New York Turfgrass Survey which was the first of its kind to document the amount of turfgrass acreage in New York and the economic value of turf, turf production, services and expenditures.  NYSTA’s Executive Director, Elizabeth Seme, worked closely with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York Agricultural Statistics Service to provide the mailing lists and create the questionnaires that requested information from the year 2003.   The 2003 New York Turfgrass Survey, published in 2005, had been in the planning and implementation stages for five years.  It illustrated that the turf industry employed 43,000 people and contributed five billion dollars in turf maintenance expenses to the economy in 2003.  It has become an invaluable tool at NYSTA’s Turfgrass Advocacy Day because it shows that the turfgrass industry is a growing agricultural commodity in New York State and enables the public, industry, and government to work together to ensure its continued growth. 
Empire State Green Industry Show       
In 2005, the NYSTA Turf & Grounds Exposition became the Empire State Green Industry Show, under the direction of NYSTA president Jim Hornung, Sr.  The Empire State Green Industry show combined the conferences and trade shows of several green industry organizations.  According to Jim, “We wanted to reach out to other industry leaders who have expressed an interest in a united green industry show in New York State.  We believe that associations would benefit by having one comprehensive show held in one place at one time.  Attendees would gain by having multi-association educational programs to choose from and the opportunity to network with their peers in a related industry.”  Jim received NYSTA’s Citation of Merit award in 2007 for his work creating a united green industry conference.  The 2011 Empire State Green Industry Show is scheduled for January 11-13, 2011 at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center in Rochester, New York.
Turfgrass Industry Summit
In March 2009, thirty turfgrass professionals from across New York State representing sports, golf, sod, lawn and landscape, along with Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Turfgrass Team gathered in Ithaca.  The invitees were recognized leaders with abilities to articulate a vision for turfgrass education in New York State. 
The Summit was facilitated by Cornell University Emeritus Business School Professor Bob Milligan with the goal of developing an integrated educational strategy to maximize the vast resources of all industry groups.  The meeting focused on developing an enhanced integration of communications amongst all the groups and Cornell.
After two days, the Summit was adjourned with many expressing overwhelming optimism the industry could come together and build on collective strengths.  Improved leadership structure, better communications and more thorough coordination were identified as vital components in commencing the task.  There was a renewed sense of connection with Cornell and it was concluded that it would take a coordinated effort with strong leadership to keep the process moving forward in a positive vein. 
2010 and Beyond
NYSTA’s current president is Greg Chorvas, Superintendent at Cantine Veterans Sports Complex.  There are currently 1,213 members and a staff of five who handle association management, meetings and exhibitions management, graphic design and web site updates, public relations and membership, administrative duties and bookkeeping.  NYSTA continues to provide leadership in turfgrass research and education by offering accredited education seminars, conferences, scholarships and research grants.  NYSTA co-sponsors Poa tournaments held by the following GCSA groups: Adirondack, Northeastern, Finger Lakes, Central, Long Island and Metropolitan.  NYSTA’s Sullivan County Challenge, Winning Fields Seminar, Turfgrass Advocacy Day and regional conferences (Southeast, Adirondack and Western) are held each year.  In addition to the scholarships mentioned earlier, NYSTA has initiated an adult education scholarship to support those interested in attending the Cornell Turfgrass Short Course. 
NYSTA’s roots with Cornell University turf programs continue to grow and expand.  Our member benefits include Cornell University resource materials to educate and enlighten turf industry professionals.  These include Cornell University Turfgrass Times, a newsletter coordinated by Frank Rossi, Ph.D., and mailed to members, ShortCUTT which is emailed weekly to members during the growing season, Branching Out, Cornell’s on-line newsletter for trees and shrubs, and TracTurf pest management tracking software.  
Cornell experts present sessions at our annual conferences and provide research updates in our member newsletters.   NYSTA also committed an appropriation in the amount of $130,600 for the Assistant Professor of Turfgrass and Landscape Weed Science position.  This post was filled in July of 2010 by Professor Jenny Kao-Kniffen.  Her research and extension programs will focus on developing biological weed control methods that will be integrated into cultural management practices.  
According to NYSTA president, Greg Chorvas, “As NYSTA moves forward, we will continue to support Cornell issues at NYSTA’s Turfgrass Advocacy Day and endorse CAO’s policy recommendations with regard to furthering the turfgrass industry. These include improvement and expansion of Cornell Cooperative Extension turfgrass diagnostic services, support of a turf pathologist position at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station at Geneva, Cornell’s Integrated Pest Management program and state funding to improve turfgrass research facilities to ensure the continuation of cutting edge research.”  In addition, NYSTA plans to continue to support other area colleges with turf programs including SUNY Delhi and SUNY Cobleskill. 
“Last year NYSTA celebrated its 60 year anniversary,” said Chorvas, “which is proof that this organization is here to stay.  As long as we continue to uphold the principals of our founding members and respect the accomplishments of those who came before us, I see no reason why this organization won’t continue to be a strong force in the industry for the next 60 years.  We are proud of our past and look forward to providing excellent leadership in the years to come.”