The most recently archived stories appear at the top; Index of Stories is an alphabetical listing of those stories (if you click on the heading, it will take you to story location on this page).
August 10, 2018
Idaho-Based J.R. Simplot Company Has Acquired Gene Editing Licensing Rights. A multinational agricultural company based in Idaho has acquired gene editing licensing rights that could one day be used to help farmers produce more crops and make grocery store offerings such as strawberries, potatoes and avocados stay fresher longer.
J.R. Simplot Company on Monday announced the agreement with DowDuPont Inc. and the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, developers of the nascent gene editing technology. Simplot is the first agricultural company to receive such a license.
“We think this is a transformative technology—it’s very powerful,” said Issi Rozen, chief business officer of the Broad Institute. “We’re delighted that Simplot is the first one to take advantage of the licensing.”
There is no evidence that genetically modified organisms, known as GMOs, are unsafe to eat, but changing the genetic code of foods presents an ethical issue for some. For example McDonald’s had declined to use Simplot’s genetically engineered potatoes for its French fries.
The food industry has also faced pressure from retailers as consumer awareness of genetically modified foods has increased.
J.R. Simplot officials declined to say how much the company paid for the licensing rights acquired through a process intended to prevent the technology from being used unethically. The technology allows scientists to make precise changes to the genome of living organisms and has wide-ranging applications for improving plant food production and quality.
“The issues are about getting the right kind of food produced in the right kind of way,” said Neal Gutterson, chief technology officer at Corteva Agriscience, DowDuPont’s agriculture division. “It’s important to be able to produce enough food for the nine to 10 billion people who will be on the planet in 30 years.”
The gene editing technology is called CRISPR-Cas9, the first part an acronym for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.” The technology speeds up the traditional process of breeding generation after generation of plants to get a certain desirable trait, saving years in developing new varieties that are as safe as traditionally developed varieties, scientists say.
Essentially, if an organism’s genome is made analogous to a large manuscript, CRISPR-Cas9 allows scientists to edit specific words in the manuscript using a “search and replace” function. One of the remaining challenges, scientists say, is getting the complete genome for particular food crops. Or, to use the analogy, to not only have the complete manuscript but to have it translated so scientists know where to make the edits.
The CRISPR-Cas9 technology is so new that in March the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which regulates how food is produced, issued a statement clarifying its oversight of foods produced with gene editing. “Under its biotechnology regulations, USDA does not regulate or have any plans to regulate plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques,” the agency said.
Simplot markets products in more than 40 countries, and it has major operations in the United States, China, Canada, Australia and Mexico. The company, which is a top producer of avocados grown in Mexico and sold in the U.S., is perhaps best known for potatoes.
The company has already used other genetic techniques to adapt genes from wild and cultivated potatoes to produce commercially sold potatoes that resist bruising and late blight, which caused the Irish Potato Famine and continues to cause problems for potato farmers. Gene editing is expected to further the company’s expertise in potatoes.
“That’s part of our vision for Simplot—to be the knowledge leader for potatoes,” said Susan Collinge, vice president of plant sciences at Simplot, where she supervises about 95 plant scientists.
Idaho produces 13 billion pounds (6 billion kilograms) of potatoes annually—a third of the nation’s potatoes—worth about $1.2 billion.
Gene editing likely wouldn’t result in new varieties of potatoes for at least five years, and probably longer before the potatoes could be sold commercially, Collinge said.
August 7, 2018
Cornelius, OR (July 02, 2018)—As of July 1, 2018, Crop Production Services’ Cornelius retail branch is rebranding as Nutrien Solutions™. The Cornelius branch is one of more than 1,500 retail locations aligning across North and South America as part of Nutrien Ltd. (Nutrien)’s international network, strengthening the company’s long-term mission to help local turf and landscape managers meet increasing demands profitably and sustainably.
“Our rebrand as Nutrien Solutions enhances our ability to deliver custom, personalized solutions for golf and landscape managers—backed by the resources and reach of Nutrien’s global network,” said Jake Browning, manager of Nutrien Solutions’ Cornelius, OR branch. “This allows us to stay ahead of our customers’ evolving needs, connecting them with the latest best-in-class technology, tools and expertise to support the needs of our golf course superintendents and landscape managers.”
The rebrand also features the launch of a new digital platform designed to amplify Nutrien Solutions industry-leading distribution network, agronomic advice and support services. The platform provides turf and landscape managers with an easy to use, all-in-one customer experience hub, allowing customers to interact with agronomists and field service representatives seamlessly. This new platform will be rolling out in the Oregon and Washington market in phased updates from now to mid-2019.
For more information, visit nutrienagsolutions.com.
Nutrien is the world's largest provider of crop inputs and services, playing a critical role in helping growers increase food production in a sustainable manner. We produce and distribute over 26 million tonnes of potash, nitrogen and phosphate products world-wide. With this capability and our leading agriculture retail network, we are well positioned to supply the needs of our customers. We operate with a long-term view and are committed to working with our stakeholders as we address our economic, environmental and social priorities. The scale and diversity of our integrated portfolio provides a stable earnings base, multiple avenues for growth and the opportunity to return capital to shareholders. For further information visit us at nutrien.com.
July 21, 2018
All WWGCSA Members, your Board is pleased to announce the following nominations for your consideration at our upcoming Annual Meeting (August 20 at Aldarra Golf Club):
Class A, B, and C Board Positions (3 to be selected to 3-year terms):
Assistant Superintendent (1 to be selected to a 2-year term):
Affiliate Member (1 to be selected to a 1-year term)
Nominations can be taken from the floor at the time of election.
See you all at Aldarra on August 20!
July 17, 2018
Serial Number TC203AT0020372, along with custom Baby Bowie hydroseeder serial number 28131 belonging to Greenshield Systems. They were taken at 1 a.m. July 13, 2018 from Stahl Jr Hi, Puyallup.
We are now needing a 2030A progator (with or without a bed) to replace the stolen one.
If you have one for sale or loan, please contact Greenshield Systems 360-466-0406.
July 3, 2018
The 4-man team from Tacoma Country Club went to a lot of effort to lug the rather large traveling trophy up north to Willow’s Run for the Annual Crew Tournament.
Turns out they ended up returning it from whence it came, as Tacoma’s team of Miguel Hernandez, Kevan Kenna, Joe Monteleone, and Richard Young beat the field by four shots after carding a 55. Three teams finished tied for second with a 59, forcing a playoff won by Suncadia over North Shore Golf Club and one of the four teams representing Sahalee.
Tacoma Country Club repeats Crew Title at Willow’s Run
In all, 31 teams competed at Willow’s Run. Tacoma and Suncadia will go on to represent the Western Washington Crews in a competition versus the Oregon Crew Tournament winners sometime toward the end of the summer.
Many players, all of whom should know what they’re talking about, were heard praising Superintendent Ryan Semritc and his team for the fantastic condition the course was in. The Willow’s crew has certainly been busy, as it followed up the Crew tournament by hosting the USA Special Olympics golf event this July.
July 2, 2018
We have lost a family member of our golf course maintenance team at Sahalee, Glen Charleston. Glen passed away suddenly on Wednesday, June 27th. He was an integral part of our operation and will never be forgotten!
Glen started at Sahalee Country Club in October of 2002, he was our Equipment Manager. Prior to joining our team, he spent 6 years at The Golf Club at Newcastle as the Equipment Manager which began during construction of the development. Before that, he was employed as the mechanic for numerous years with the City of Bellevue’s municipal golf operations. He was well-respected by his peers and friend to many through the years of hosting tournament events and attending seminars. Glen was a native to the Puget Sound area, in fact, grew up on Lake Sammamish in a cabin and attended Issaquah High School.
For those who knew Glen, he was “rough on the edges” but kind at heart. He never denied the opportunity to crack a joke or offer a helping hand. Glen was passionate about golf and the maintenance of courses, however, his true love was fishing and spending time on the water.
Glen is survived by his parents, two sons, and three daughters. He was devoted to his family.
Glen, we miss you!
May 31, 2018
Congratulations to Meridian Valley Country Club, this year’s winning team at the WWGCSA Fivesome Scramble at Fircrest Golf Club.
In a close competition, their margin of victory was less than a full stroke over both Rainier Golf & Country Club and Kitsap Golf & Country Club. With a similar score, Western Equipment won the Industry Team division.
A good time was had by all, as the team at Fircrest provided a magnificent course in excellent condition. A big shout-out goes to Superintendent John Alexander and his crew, as well as PGA Professional Greg Talley for providing a great environment for this year’s tourney. As always, General Manager Jeff Hillen’s staff were top notch hosts for this year’s rendition of the Fivesome, an important fundraiser for the WWGCSA and the Northwest Turfgrass Association.
Sahalee will be the host of the 2019 WWGCSA Fivesome.
May 29, 2018
Steve Kealy was the recipient of the annual award at this year’s Fivesome Tournament and Auction at Fircrest Golf Club.
Our host Superintendent John Alexander and his staff put on a show this year with their superb course conditions! After a beautiful day of golf at Fircrest, Steve was handed over the award presented by the WWGCSA Board, which was accompanied by some tears in the crowd. This is just the most recent award in Steve’s 30 year career as the superintendent at Glendale Golf & Country Club. Over the years he has proven to be one of the best communicators in the industry for environmental stewardship and the importance of the superintendent in the golf community at large. Steve has also played an important role in the development of the First Green Program which is dedicated to the education of youth with regard to turfgrass management and the world of agronomy. Steve provides numerous hours of community service, donating his time and talents to educate local area high school students on agronomic and environmental issues.
This award was extra special to Steve as he was a very close friend of our late Director Paul Backman, who worked tirelessly to promote our profession in the local golf industry. Steve seemed to think this award was far too soon in his career, however everyone that knows him thinks it has probably come too late. Congratulations Steve, you deserve it!
May 17, 2018
For those of you who attended the Fivesome this is old news. For those who didn’t, please welcome Bill as our new Executive Director of the WWGCSA.
In February of this year we put out the notice that we were looking for a new Executive Director. We formed a search committee consisting of board, affiliates, members at large and Brian Coury; the Executive Director of the Western Washington PGA. The committee was tasked with narrowing the field from over ten applicants to three finalists. Those three finalists interviewed with the board before Bill was chosen. We feel Bill will help take our association to the next level and be an outstanding face of our organization.
For those of you who don’t know Bill or recognize his name, here are some things about him. Bill is a member at Wing Point and is a past president of the club. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and received his MBA from Cornell. He trained with American Airlines as a financial analyst. He then became a lead executive with KJR radio, Horizon Broadcasting, and the Seattle Supersonics to name a few.
Bill and his wife Carolyn have been involved with coaching their kids and youth sports for the last two decades. This includes the Bainbridge High School boys baseball team and the area swim team. Bill is an avid golfer and looks forward to combining his executive leadership with his love of sports and golf to help our organization. We feel lucky to have Bill on board with us and hope everyone gets a chance to meet him soon. Bill can be reached at email@example.com.
We appreciate everyone’s patience with this process and look forward to a bright future with Bill.
March 28, 2018
We have decided to discontinue the GHIN program at this point. If you want to continue to maintain your handicap through the USGA GHIN system you can join at your local club or you can call or email Shari Jacobson with the Washington State Golf Association and she will get you pointed in the right direction. She can be reached at 253-214-2925 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We are attempting to reach everyone by email who this might affect.
January 17, 2018
Greg Van Hollebeke, the superintendent at Interbay Golf Course in Seattle, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association.
Van Hollebeke will replace John Hicks of Canterwood Golf & Country Club, who resigned from the Board because of health concerns. Van Hollebeke, the former superintendent at The Golf Club at Redmond Ridge, will complete Hicks’ term on the Board, which runs through to the Annual Meeting in August.
WWGCSA President Scott Phelps of The Golf Club at Newcastle appointed Van Hollebeke to the position, and the appointment was approved in a vote of the Board of Directors.
January 10, 2018
During a strategic planning session Tuesday administered by the GCSAA, the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association developed a new mission statement.
Here is the new mission statement:
The WWGCSA is a professional organization established to unite golf course superintendents, provide value to members, and to enhance the profession.
The WWGCSA spent six hours discussing strategic planning and traditional Board business at Tam O’Shanter Golf & Country Club in Bellevue and wants to thank host superintendent Jerry Thompson and his members for all their hospitality.
November 14, 2017
Sean Reehoorn, the superintendent at Aldarra Golf Club and the vice-president of the Western Washington Golf Course Superintendents Association, recently attended his first GCSAA Delegates Meeting back at GCSAA headquarters.
Click here for his report that includes updates and information on GCSAA endeavors such as BMPs, membership drive, government advocacy, Grass Roots Ambassadors, Round 4 Research, certification programs and by-laws and Code of Ethics revisions.