SportsTurf

June 2017

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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www.stma.org June 2017 | SportsTurf 31 couple. They got engaged during his freshman year and married during spring break, on March 20, 1955, 62 years ago. Harriet's dad had died when Jim was a freshman and she and her mom had moved from the farm to a two-bedroom house in town. She says, "I had a good job and knew nearly everyone in our small town. There was no decent place to live in Columbus at Ohio State within our budget, so I stayed put and Jim joined me on weekends and breaks until he graduated, Summa cum laude, in 1957." Then Jim said, "I'd like to go to graduate school." And Harriet says she responded, "What is that?" Jim reports he'd originally thought he'd get into farming but figured out the only way to do that would have been to marry a wealthy farmer's daughter with 1,000 acres. "I told Harriet that rather than making $4,000 a year at the soil conservation service where I'd worked the past four summers, I could put in another four years of schooling and make $6,000 a year. So we headed for Purdue. My first research-teaching position at MSU in 1961 paid $8,000 a year." MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY AND ASPA Jim's position at Michigan State began just prior to the sod production industry "exploding" in Michigan. Most growers had been producing onions and carrots on the organic soils referred to as "muck farms." When sales fell off many switched over to turfgrass sod and needed technical assistance on how to grow it. Jim says, "Dr. Joe Vargas, Dr. Paul Rieke and I had the first and only sod production research farms at the Rose Lake Experiment Station. Our research on the muck soils there matched the growing conditions of most of the Michigan turfgrass producers. We included a visit there in some of the summer Field Days and started a sod section at the MSU Turf Conference that drew attendees from across the U.S. and Canada." While Michigan growers were initially shipping their sod to Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and New York state, when competition from other states began, the cost of shipping became a factor. During that time, Jim attended three or four different meetings with organizational attempts orchestrated by Ben Warren. Several smaller regional groups paved the way for ASPA, especially the Sod Growers Association of Mid-America, also spearheaded by Ben Warren. The Nursery Sod Growers Association of Ontario, which was established in 1960, was a great role model and is still going strong. They had Robert Daymon and Farm Manager Dick Garrell welcome county agents and Michigan State University professors who led the Emerald Valley Field Day tour on July 12, 1967. L to R: Donald D. Juchartz, Wayne County agriculture extension agent, Wayne, MI.; Dick Garrell; Robert Daymon; Dr. James B Beard; Duane Girbach, Livingston County agriculture extension agent, Howell, MI; Dr. K. T. Payne; Dr. Bob Lucas; and Dr. Paul Ricke. PHOTO FROM TPI ARCHIVES.

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