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Virginia Green Industry Council Update


By Jeri Z. LeMay, VGIC President

VGIC held the first meeting for 2003 in Richmond on Monday, January 13th. Thank you to Lin Diacont and the Virginia Turfgrass Council for the use of the room they had booked for their conference preparations. We had an ambitious agenda for the afternoon but made terrific progress and addressed all we had set out to discuss.

Rick Baker of VDACS gave us an update on the FSMIP grant proposal he is writing. This is a USDA grant that VDACS has initiated in conjunction with VGIC. The grant, should we receive one, would fund the development of a marketing program which would increase the visibility and sales of Virginia horticultural products. The final draft of the proposal is underway and VDACS will have the proposal to the USDA by early February. By the end of June grants will be awarded and VGIC will know if it received the grant for which it applied. However, we need to be positive and ready to spring into action so we reviewed the strategic plan and decided on which tasks we would tackle for 2003.

One of our goals is to increase our membership to sixteen green industry organizations by years end. Linda Anson, Chair of the Membership Committee, gave a very professional presentation of the 2003 Membership Campaign she had formulated. By the end of her presentation we knew the current status of VGIC membership, we could visualize our goal, and we had a packet of materials to enable each of us to contribute so VGIC can reach and surpass its membership goal.

We quickly realized that further discussion of details of strategic plan tasks would be futile without establishing committees. I presented a rough outline and suggested appointments and we worked as a group until we agreed on 5 committees: Budget and Finance; Communications and Public Relations; Membership; Programs and Education; and Legislative. Not everyone was present who had been suggested for a committee appointment so those members are being contacted this week for their decision.

We finished up our meeting with a lively discussion of issues that threaten our industry. Some of the issues that were discussed include: water wise gardening and how to be proactive against drought effects and water restrictions; budget cuts and the resulting loss of extension personnel and services; invasive plant regulation; and other issues. A date was set for our next meeting: Tuesday, March 18 from 10-noon at the State Fair offices. You can help us keep Virginia green and growing through your membership and input. Contact the Virginia Green Industry Council today!

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