Following the evening national news a few days ago, there was the traditional preparedness programming for hurricane season. After a few minutes of the program, it dawned on me that not only is it hurricane season, but it is also the fertilizer blackout period for the communities that have enacted blackouts.
Around the state of Florida, there are roughly 70 local ordinances calling for fertilizer blackout periods that extend from June 1 through October 1. Fortunately, for those of us working in the golf industry, the golf course best management practices have allowed golf courses to remain exempt from these restrictions. Can you imagine what it would be like if you were trying to recover from your summer aerifications and verticutting practices without the ability to fertilize to promote recovery? It is a scary proposition!
The FGCSA was recognized for their continued work with their BMP certification program as they received the GCSAA Excellence in Government Relations Award during this past Golf Industry Show in San Antonio. The program continues to promote golf course superintendents as the true environmental stewards that they are. This voluntary program, with the goal of having 50 percent of the FGCSA members certified by the end of 2015 (50 by 15), is beneficial in continuing to keep the golf industry ahead of the ongoing legislative pressures that impact many of our partners in other sectors of the turfgrass industry.
Although the program is voluntary, it is acknowledged by the Florida DEP, with whom the FGCSA has worked very closely throughout the entire BMP development. The certification program also provides a great day of education for those who attend, as well as rewarding GCSAA CEU’s and state pesticide CEU’s.
I am writing about this to highlight the program that has served the golf industry very well through troubling times regarding restrictive legislation that could have serious impacts on the way superintendents are able to maintain their properties. When the FGCSA initially embarked on writing the BMP manual, nobody could have foreseen how impactful it has been. Today, it is equally difficult to determine how impactful the BMP Certification program will be down the road. I would hazard a guess that having our members certified in the practices contained in the document will only strengthen our position and not hinder it. To that end, I would highly encourage you to participate in the certification program if you have not already done so.
There are opportunities to attend seminars on July 8 in Wimauma, on August 31 in Naples, and during the FTGA Conference and Show September 14 and 15. In an effort to keep golf exempt from the rainy season fertilizer blackouts and for your own education and professional enhancement, why not take advantage of a seminar near you and help the Florida GCSA meet their goal of 50 by 15?