of Turfgrass: Turfgrasses are the primary vegetative
covers on airports, athletic fields, cemeteries, churches,
commercial buildings, golf courses, home lawns, schools, parks
and roadsides. They are used on these sites to prevent soil
erosion and for other environmental influences, for recreation,
and for aesthetic value.
Sod Production Industry:
The 2000 Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development
Turf Survey compiled by the University of Georgia reported
there were over 38,000 acres used for producing sod/stolons.
The farm gate value was $105.5 million which represents a
100% increase over 1992, and a relative ranking of 15th in
Georgia. After its sale, one acre of sod contributes at least
an additional $660.00 per year for turf maintenance costs
for an indefinite period. Turfgrass acreage certified by the
Georgia Crop Improvement Association increased 31 % in 2001
and 196% since 1998 to 11,000 acres.
Golf Course Industry: In
1999 the 445 golf courses in Georgia averaged spending $417,000
per year for labor, supplies and equipment; a total of $185,565,000.
The average revenue per course was $2.7 million, or a total
statewide revenue of $1.2 billion. Comparing this revenue
to farm gate values puts golf courses second to broiler production
in Georgia. These golf courses had 14,764 full-time and 21,760
part-time employees. In 1999, Georgia was ranked 8th in the
country in the number of new courses opened (19), 8th in courses
under construction (31), and Georgia was one of six states
that were in the top 10 in the country in both these categories
(National Golf Foundation, 2000). Since 1990, an average of
11 new golf courses per year have been opened (75% are public
courses). The golf course industry is also significant to
the tourism industry and to the enhancement of property values
through associated housing developments.
Turfgrass Industry Size: Although reasonable
estimates have been made, the exact size of the turfgrass
industry in Georgia is not known since a detailed survey
has never been conducted. However, estimates suggest that
at 1.6 million acres, it is clearly one of the largest agricultural
commodities in the state. The cost to maintain an acre of
turfgrass is about $660.00 or $1.56 billion per year.
Professional Landscape and Turfgrass Industry:
Based on a 1998 survey of the Professional Turfgrass and
Landscape industry had annual gross revenue of $3.4 billion.
These firms employed over 12,000 full-time and 6,000 part-time
people. The industry was relatively young with 61% of the
firms being less than 11 years old.
Home Lawns: There are an
estimated 800,000 acres of home lawns in Georgia. And on average,
homeowners spend $400 per acre annually to maintain their
lawns for a total of $312 million (60% of total) of total
turf maintenance expenditures. Generally, lawns represent
the largest segment of the industry.
Pesticide Use in Turf: The
Georgia Department of Agriculture estimates that over 2,000
people have a commercial pesticide applicators license in
Category 24 - Turf and Ornamentals. This is the largest group
of commercial pesticide applicator license holders in Georgia.
The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental
Sciences faculty hold numerous trainings each year for this
group. License holders receive information on topics such
as pesticide disposal and storage, safety, ground and surface
water protection, non-chemical methods of pest control, etc.
The University of Georgia Turfgrass
Program: Research and Extension efforts are directed
towards developing and disseminating environmentally and economically
sound best management practices to maintain a sound basis
for the continued growth of this dynamic industry that impacts
Georgia through jobs, goods/services, property values, tourism,
and the quality of life in Georgia.