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 35 (CSSA) Presidential Award, its highest honor, "given to persons who have influenced the science or practice of crop production so greatly that the impact of their efforts will be enduring on future science." He also has been the recipient of CSSA's Turfgrass Science Award and its Crop Science Research Award. Dr. Beard was the first president of the International Turfgrass Society (ITS). Harriet says, "Jim also was the first full-time turfgrass specialist elected president of the CSSA." Jim adds, "A former student of mine, Dr. Bob Shearman, University of Nebraska, was the second, about ten years after me." Dr. Beard has served on the Board of Directors of ITS, CSSA, the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), and CAST: The Science Source for Food, Agricultural and Environmental Issues, and has been honored as a Fellow of CSSA, ASA, and AAAS. He has also served on many national committees. Jim says, "The awards are humbling and much appreciated. Sometimes they are a complete surprise, such as the honorary Doctor of Agriculture degree from Purdue University. Usually when you're nominated for something like that it's a very thorough process with four of five inches of documents that they review. The first I heard about the Purdue honorary degree was the contact telling me I would be receiving it." Sod producers stepped up to the challenge on water issues ten years ago when no one was listening, Jim reports. "Doug Fender, representing TPI and TLI, took a stand with Water Right—Conserving Our Water, Preserving Our Environment." A statement in that publication, declared TPI recognizes "both the global need to use water efficiently and the benefits of public and private green spaces." TPI continues to play a leading role in education and promotion of that reality. "For a long time I was the only turfgrass specialist doing research on water use and conservation," says Jim. "Now it's incorporated into most turfgrass research programs, and we're beginning to reap the benefits from it. That research will need to continue to meet the challenges of weather issues, popula- tion growth, governmental restrictions and environmental activist attacks." Activists typically take the single-issue approach, notes Harriet. "They generally don't consider research or don't care about it and have little concern for the results of their actions besides eliminating something they don't like. You need a knowledgeable person with a broad perspective to analyze the impact of actions that exclude certain things from the use of society." Jim adds, "Turfgrass is the prime target because it's not a necessity, such as food and fiber, and it has less governmental and organizational support—and less aesthetic appeal to the general public—than flowers or trees. It's the weakest of the links, so that's where activists start their attack. Along with water, attack points will continue to include fertilizer, pesticides, native versus non-native plant species, noise, emissions, and maintenance expense." Another major challenge for natural turfgrass is artificial turf. "The financial selling points of artificial turf don't reflect the actual maintenance and replacement costs," says Jim. "To date, crumb rubber research has been more focused on single issues than the multiplicity of potential problems related to toxicity, exposure and disease." Jim says, "The most fulfilling moments are the successes of my students, both undergrad and grad, American and foreign. We keep in contact with a lot of them, in North America and overseas. Some are turfgrass specialists very successful in their research efforts; quite a few have become department heads, too; and some are deans at their universities." Both are grateful to have been blessed with a wonderful family and the opportunity to work and travel together. Harriet says, "Jim has been able to focus on work he loves and make significant con- tributions to the turfgrass industry. We've met fantastic people from all around the world and many of them have become great friends." Jim adds, "I appreciate Harriet's role in our partnership even more than she realizes. We've had an amazing journey, so much more than either of us imagined, and are eager for the next adventure." Suz Trusty is co-editor of Turf News. This article originally appeared in their March/April 2017 issue.

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