Lakeland, Florida / January 18, 2016 – The Environmental Research & Education Foundation (“EREF”) and Carraway Consulting announced today the appointment of Mac Carraway as its consulting Executive Director. Mr. Carraway is a 23-year veteran of Florida’s agricultural and green industries and is the President of Carraway Consulting in Bradenton, Florida.
Acting EREF Board of Directors Chairman Mac Briley of ValleyCrest in Orlando, Florida, detailed the announcement. “Mac [Carraway] has been involved with EREF since its inception, and was its first Chairman until accepting this appointment as EREF’s Executive Director. The Board felt it was the logical next step to have Mac formally assume these responsibilities to help EREF further its mission in 2016 and beyond.”
Mr. Carraway has a long history in environmental and water management issues related to agriculture and the green industries. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s (SWFWMD) Agricultural Advisory Committee and is a two-time gubernatorial appointee to its Manasota Basin Board. He is a past Chairman of the Florida Turfgrass Association and the Manatee Chamber of Commerce and has served on numerous water conservation and water quality organizations including the Florida Chamber of Commerce Water Task Force.
Mr. Carraway stated, “I’m looking forward to 2016 for EREF in this new role. We have a critical and exciting mission of education, outreach and advocacy for those in the lawn care, turfgrass, golf, sports and landscape industries. These industries are made up of great people and great organizations that are absolutely determined to continuing their decades-long commitments to sustainable and responsibly maintained greenspaces. I am very proud to represent them and grateful for this opportunity”.
The Environmental Research & Education Foundation is a non-profit industry association located in Lakeland, Florida. Its mission is to protect Florida’s environment and natural resources through the funding of environmental research and the sharing of sound scientific findings on the environmental and human-health benefits of properly maintained greenspaces and urban landscapes.
Carraway Consulting is a financial and agribusiness consulting firm located in Bradenton, Florida.
If you have spent more than a few minutes with a food farmer, dairyman or rancher, he or she might very well smile big and say something like “Food doesn’t come from the grocery store!” This is a polite way of saying that what shows up at the grocery store is the product of a boatload of experience, history, trials, research, technology, risk, heartbreak, joy, and of course, lots and lots of hard work. It is also a polite way of saying that these things are taken for granted by most people to a large extent.
Something very similar can be said about the grass that’s in just about every yard, landscape, sports field, golf course and common area in the known universe. While saying “Grass doesn’t come from the landscaper!” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, the message is crystal clear – there is a lot more to grass than green.
So let’s talk about grass – more specifically the improved turfgrass varieties that find their way to your lawn, your local park, your sports field or your golf course. Improved turfgrasses are complex organisms with many attributes and personalities. Besides their aesthetic characteristics (color, texture, blade size, growth habit, etc.), turfgrasses also are judged by their drought hardiness and recovery, their disease and insect resistance, their nutrient requirements and their climate tolerances (like temperature and water quality). But news alert! – ¬the continuous improvements in these various attributes have not arrived in today’s turf varieties by accident! In other words, you can’t just go dig this stuff up in the woods. Rather, each of today’s major cultivars in six major varieties of warm-season grasses (St. Augustine, Zoysia, Bermuda, Centipede and Paspalum (including Bahia) are the product of a boatload of experience, history, trials, research, technology, risk, heartbreak, joy and of course, lots and lots of hard work. (See what just happened there?)
Yes, Virginia, there are turfgrass scientists – and many of the greatest ones in the world are right here in Florida. Working with them and supporting them with major financial support and field trials are a relative handful of turfgrass growers (representing most of the improved turfgrass grown in the State) who are themselves represented by the Turfgrass Producers of Florida (TPF), their statewide trade association. And make no mistake about it, TPF is not your granddaddy’s trade association – it is a force of agriculture, dedicated to the beautiful and sustainable greenspaces beloved by old and new Floridians alike, to science and education, and to the responsible use of water and fertilizer. These scientists and growers have, over the last two decades especially, been responsible for the development of new growing and management techniques, as well as amazing new varieties of improved turfgrasses which may look like their predecessors in many ways, but which have internal workings that require less supplemental irrigation and nutrition, and which fend off pests and diseases much more robustly, thus dramatically reducing the use of crop protection chemicals.
Like their food-crop brothers and sisters, growers of improved turfgrasses love what they do and work hard at it – most have invested their lives in it. They believe in the value and sustainability of their products, and they continue to invest in leading-edge research efforts and cultivar development in order to further build this legacy of stewardship for the benefit of all of Florida and its natural systems. Even as we speak, new and ever-better improved turfgrasses are on the way to a lawn or landscape near you.
So every now and then, as you play in the grass and breath the clean air it generates, think about the incredible backstory – it’s a good one.
The Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) was created on the belief that science is the basis for action – and it continues to follow that belief. In this era of emotionalism, false choices and errant conventional wisdoms, EREF is committed to following the lead of science, driven by rigorous state-of-the-art research. This mentality is the only legitimate pathway to real environmental collaboration and effective policy development.
Believing in science means accepting the facts as they are — whether you like them or not! This is exactly what the Green Industries have been doing for decades, to the benefit of Florida’s environment and its citizens. The development and widespread implementation of high-level Green Industry and Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMP’s) has meant accepting change in the name of science, and in the name of simply doing the right thing — and it has changed the face of Florida for the better, forever.