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Education Efforts Go Far Beyond Providing Classes

Wednesday, March 23, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jennifer Addington
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Education Efforts Go Far Beyond Providing Classes


A primary function of GGIA is providing education opportunities. These efforts go far beyond scheduling classes at the Wintergreen Event in January. We work with agents from Cooperative Extension to support and make you aware of seminars around the state. We are also partnering with Dr. Matthew Chappell and Dr. Paul Thomas to support the upcoming Academy of Crop Production this June in Athens. We will be announcing more details soon on this event which will provide advanced topics for growers of both woody and greenhouse crops.


But our efforts to educate don't stop there. One of the most important roles we play in supporting the industry is "educating" our elected officials and regulators as to the value of the industry. This includes making them aware of the economic and environmental benefits that we bring to the state. This also includes making them aware of key programs, like Cooperative Extension and The Plant Protection Division at the Department of Agriculture.  


At the national level, our relationship with AmericanHort through the lighthouse program works to highlight the value of these programs so that members of Congress realize the critical role that agencies and programs play in assisting the industry. Our elected officials at the state and national level are tasked with understanding a huge variety of topics and interests. We can't expect them to be experts on all topics. Even those representatives who serve on agricultural committees need to be made aware of Green Industry issues so that programs like APHIS continue to receive funding when budgets are considered.


News about funding for these programs rarely registers as exciting or breaking news until a pest comes along that can devastate the industry. None of us needs to be reminded of Sudden Oak Death and the industry losses that came along with it.


ANLA Lighthouse LogoA portion of your GGIA membership dues go to support the Lighthouse Program and we are fortunate to have them in D.C., "telling the story" of the Green Industry. Just this week, they met with House Leaders to prepare them to develop statements and questions for a hearing focusing on plant pests and the National Clean Plant Network. These efforts provide real life examples and give value to programs that might otherwise be a lonely line item in a budget that no one understands. And programs like that don't last very long. Click here for statements from the House Committee on Agriculture that highlights the importance of defending American agriculture from foreign pests and diseases. 


This process is ongoing. We received word today from AmericanHort that they have been tasked with providing feedback on the the federal imported fire ant (IAF) domestic quarantine. After gathering information and feedback from state associations like GGIA, AmericanHort will report back with recommendations that work for the industry without putting undue burdens on our growers.Without this network and the efforts to disseminate information key to the industry, programs like the fire ant quarantine could look very different and be detrimental to the industry. 


At GGIA, we will continue to focus on education on all fronts with the goal of helping you conduct your business armed with the latest facts and knowing that an informed group of elected officials and regulators will make fewer decisions that harm your bottom line. 

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