ITGAP visits Australia
AusGAP has provided a warm welcome to the International Turfgrass Genetic Assurance Program (ITGAP) administered by the Georgia Crop Improvement Association (GCIA).
GCIA Certification Program Manager Billy Skaggs is ecstatic to be touring Australia for most of May this year. Two years of travel restrictions has limited the international turfgrass program’s ability to visit Australia and Billy is keen to visit AusGAP certified turf producers again as one of the primary reasons for his trip.
“When I last visited Australia in January of 2020, I had no idea it would be two-plus years before I could return. I thoroughly enjoyed my previous visits and cannot wait to make up for lost time by visiting as many certified turf farms as possible.”
Despite ITGAP’s long absence during COVID-19, AusGAP has been able to continue its exclusive arrangement with ITGAP and ensure AusGAP certified producers meet all areas of compliance under ITGAP and AusGAP guidelines.
During Mr. Skaggs visit he intends to ensure genetic purity has been maintained for AusGAP certified paddocks and that producers understand the means to remain compliant.
“ITGAP and AusGAP expect certified growers to produce the best, highest quality turf possible – meaning it’s genetically pure and is free of noxious and objectionable weeds. This is accomplished by holding growers accountable via inspections and by providing them with the necessary tools and resources to make good management decisions.”
AusGAP program manager Michael Sutton will be travelling with Mr Skaggs as part of his AusGAP bi-annual inspections that provides staff continued training on the AusGAP program and to inspection certified paddock to ensure genetic purity and to ensure turf is true to type.
Mr. Sutton has also used this time to strengthen his knowledge of ITGAP and how it relates to the AusGAP program.
“To be able to have a field inspector with the knowledge and experience of Billy Skaggs is such a great asset to the AusGAP program and its clients”
“I know we all will benefit considerably from Billy’s visit, and it will also see independent audits of the visited growers and the whole AusGAP program. This visit is a chance for further education on ITGAP practices and producers for AusGAP staff, which will intern benefit our clients and the end users with even great turf purity and quality”
Mr. Skaggs has been inspecting AusGAP turf production facilities in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia taking time to share his extensive experience inspecting certified turf in the US and how producers here can benefit from his knowledge.
“With AusGAP having expanded across Australia with producers in every state and territory, ITGAP is confident that Australian consumers can have piece of mind that every peace of AusGAP certified sod has been monitored for quality and purity every step of the way.”