The goal of any checkoff program is to increase product demand and/or expand markets. For the sod industry specifically, the checkoff program will seek to Bring Grass to Life and increase value and profitability per square foot. This can include programs that will:
- Increase preference for sod.
- Promote sod to consumers nationally.
- Conduct research to educate and inform industry regulators and politicians.
This is just a snapshot of the power a checkoff program could bring to the sod industry, and they can do so much more when implemented and guided by industry members.
Other checkoff programs have seen similar successes:
When the soybean checkoff was created in 1991, there was an oversupply of soybean oil, driving prices down. Checkoff leaders began funding research to find new ways to use soybean oil, including in industrial applications. One of those efforts was plastic polyols made with soybean oil, replacing petroleum as a primary ingredient. The checkoff remained involved in this technology, eventually connecting researchers and fabricators with end users. Today, the polyol technology funded by the checkoff can be found in countless products, including Ford vehicles, John Deere tractors and Goodyear tires.
In 2008, Americans ate just 2 lbs. of mangos a year. That same year, the national mango checkoff was established, and leaders began to invest in programs that researched the nutritional benefit of mangos. Research results were then used in a national advertising campaign that enticed consumers with chef-inspired recipes, health facts and inspirational images of mangos. As of 2019, consumers ate nearly 6 lbs. of mangos a year, almost a threefold jump.
Softwood lumber producers established their checkoff in 2012 after two decades of market share erosion. Many of the programs funded initially were focused on promotion, including a campaign to expand softwood lumber into commercial and multi-family construction, targeting architects, developers, engineers and contractors. After 8 years of checkoff investments, the industry has experienced 6.3 billion board feet of new demand and an incremental $2.4 billion of revenue.
Support for Checkoffs
"The checkoff will help to fund peer-reviewed, independent research that we can use for developing a clear voice and educational resources for our customers. I look forward to having these materials available in the future!"
"Research through the sod checkoff will provide an opportunity to increase sustainability measures for our product. Educating on the benefits of sod is essential to our survival as we face increased pressure to remove or plant less natural grass."
Hank, South Carolina
"This checkoff gives producers a unified voice and the means to educate regulators, politicians, and consumers about the benefits that sod brings to the environment."
"It’s important that we stand together and send the message that Natural Turfgrass is the natural way to go. By having the checkoff program, we could fund initiatives based on industry needs rather than wants."
Allen, New Jersey
"Natural sod producers will have the opportunity to speak with a uniform voice for the first time. Sod producers will now have the resources to answer our critics with research data and promotion of the benefits of natural sod."
"Through research and education, we can leverage the many positive environmental, functional, aesthetic, physical and mental benefits of our product. Our message will lead to more favorable public policy and less unwarranted regulation."
Steve, New York
"The sod checkoff program will give our industry the resources it needs to conduct pertinent research studies and turn the data into powerful marketing programs that are relevant to current consumers."
"The sod checkoff can help promote future growth by introducing sod producers of all size to new technologies, influencing new growing practices and fostering growth for years to come."
Return on Investment
A common method for measuring the return on investment (ROI) of a checkoff is through an economic-impact study. In most cases, a return-on-investment study is mandated and conducted on a regular basis by an independent, third-party economist. Following is a list of recent ROIs from a variety of checkoff programs and shows the return from every $1 checkoff investment