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Congress Allocates 3 Million Dollars in New Turfgrass Research Funding for USDA-ARS

With the December 20, 2019 signing of the FY20 Federal Appropriations bill by President Trump, turfgrass research conducted by the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) received a significant increase. The $3,000,000 in funding boosted federal turfgrass research by 400% (from $1,000,000 annually).

The new funding is allocated for research in turfgrass genomics, water-efficient grasses, and systems, and ecosystem services, Genomics is the study, understanding, and mapping of the genomes of major turfgrass species, of which very little research on these grasses ha been conducted. Understanding and mapping of genomes can lead to improved genetics, and subsequently better disease, heat, cold and drought-tolerant grasses.

Research on water efficiency is critical to understanding the physiology of plants and how they respond to drought, reduced irrigation, and low-quality irrigation water. Ecosystem services refer to the contributions of turfgrass systems to the environment, society, and the economy. In other words, how does turfgrass provide benefits to the soil, water, air, human health and safety, and the economy as well as how can those benefits be maximized.

The National Turfgrass Federation, Inc. (NTF) led the effort to obtain the funding, with significant assistance from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), Turfgrass Producer International (TPI) and other allied associations. The 2019 National Golf Day, organized by We Are Golf (, significantly aided the effort as the funding request was a top priority for the 150+ participate on that day. The new funding is an excellent first step in addressing priorities of the National Turfgrass Reseach Initiative (NTRI), as outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill.

The National Turfgrass Federation, Inc. (NTF) is a 501(c)6 non-profit with the mission of promoting the need for turfgrass research and its associated value to society through the implication of the National Turfgrass Reseach Initiative (NTRI) and its priorities. NTRI is an industry-sponsored initiative to gain federal funding for turfgrass research, helping to solve the larger issues in the turfgrass industry.

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