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.