On Sept. 7, 2023, the National Association of Landscape Professionals hosted staff members of the EPA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and USDA to show how lawn care companies safely and effectively apply products to stop invasive species and maintain the health of our green spaces.
Bob Mann, senior director of regulatory and technical affairs for NALP, says one of the main goals of the event is to show regulatory groups the level of professionalism in the industry.
“I think that’s really important for our industry to be at the table,” Mann says. “There’s the old cliche about you’re either at the table or you’re on the menu. I don’t want to be on the menu. I want to be at the table.”
Mann says that when he started with NALP six years ago, there was no relationship with the EPA whatsoever and this is something the NALP government relations team has put a lot of time and effort into changing. He says their work so far is yielding dividends for membership.
“In a larger context, what we’ve been trying to do is to make sure that people in EPA know who we are, reach out to us for specific information that pertains to the industry so that they can make the best possible decisions for the pesticide products that we use in the lawn and landscape industry,” Mann says.
The NALP government relations team is also working to develop relationships with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the USDA for their respective tie-ins with pesticide regulations.
“We’ve actually made some pretty good relationships there,” Mann says. “They will reach out to us and say, ‘Hey, this particular pesticide is up for registration. EPA is accepting comments. How do you folks in the green industry use that product and how can we most effectively communicate that in our comments,’ and so we’ll go back and forth.”
NALP President Brandon Sheppard of Weed Man hosted the field trip at his house while staff from TruGreen, King Green, and Green Lawn Fertilizing shared their expertise. The event featured around five different stations where they covered topics like the personal protective equipment technicians wear, how they calibrate their equipment and more.
Ryan Petitti with Green Lawn Fertilizing presented about the Emerald Ash Borer and the damage they can do. The field trip also displayed a tree that had been ravaged by the invasive Spotted Lanternfly. Mann says a number of fruitful conversations blossomed between the participants.
“We take these issues, whether it be nutrient management, whether it be pesticide policy, whether it be all these different government relations issues, H-2B, gas to electric issues, all the things that are sort of our tier one issues are of vital importance to us,” Mann says. “We will interject ourselves as deeply as we possibly can into these issues and we will be thought leaders on these issues.”
Thanks to our industry partners who helped with this event. We love the opportunity to show off the dedication and professionalism of our industry.