Ron Strahan, LSU AgCenter turfgrass specialist, had the idea to ask Les Miles, coach of the LSU Tigers football team, for an endorsement of Louisiana-grown turfgrass after national sportscasters observed Miles chewing grass at football games and the coach admitted, jokingly, in a television interview that "the grass in Tiger Stadium tasted best." The Louisiana turfgrass growers were being undercut by producers in other states, who were selling their turfgrass cheaper as they converted their acres into other, more profitable crops.
To everyone’s delight, Miles agreed to let his image be used for a year, starting in September 2011, to promote Louisiana-grown turfgrass. The turfgrass promotion, which has included posters, ads and billboards with Miles’ photo, has been effective with sales in the fall of 2011 up and expected to continue climbing through the spring of 2012. The Louisiana Grown Turfgrass campaign is funded through the Specialty Crop Program, which is administered by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
The promotion has also brought attention to the LSU AgCenter’s Field of Excellence program made available for high school football fields across the state. In this program the state turfgrass specialist and local county agents work with the schools and their grounds maintenance staff to make their fields safer for players through proper management of the turfgrass. So far, 11 schools have participated in the program.
Read more about the Field of Excellence program.
(This article was published in the winter 2012 issue of Louisiana Agriculture magazine.)
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture