Want to keep up with the latest news in lawn care and landscaping? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the green industry.

Urge Congress to Pass H-2B Returning Worker Exemption
Keep bugging your legislators to renew the H-2B returning worker exemption. Timing is critical, says The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). Congress is expected to pass a temporary spending measure that will keep the federal government running. “It is essential that the continuing resolution extend the H-2B returning worker exemption beyond September 30,” a NALP statement reads. NALP points out that it is already working with the Department of Labor (DOL), the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) and Congress to ensure that the H2-B program works as intended next year. NALP is asking its members to call their elected officials and ask to speak with the staff member who handles H-2B issues.

California Senate Lauds Toro’s Water Zone Radio Show
The Water Zone radio show, sponsored by The Toro Company, is a weekly program, first launched in 2015, and has been providing listeners with tips and information on water conservation. In recognition, California State Senator Richard Roth recently presented hosts Rob Starr and Mike Baron a California State Senate Resolution commendation. The Resolution recognizes the Show’s central role in educating the public about best practices and smart irrigation technologies to help utilize outdoor watering more efficiently amid the state’s record drought. Additionally, The Water Zone was named as an IE H20 Hero Award Winner for Communications Program of the Year at the 10th annual San Bernardino Water Conference in August.

John Deere Stock Drops Amid Lawsuit
A potentially large agribusiness merger in the United States has been blocked this week as the Obama administration stepped in to prevent Deere & Company (DE) from buying one of Monsanto’s operations. This deal goes back to November 2015 when Deere announced that it wanted to buy Monsanto’s precision planting equipment line. According to Modest Money, both companies were on board with the merger suggesting that it will benefit farmers by accelerating development of solutions that will increase crop yield and productivity. The Department of Justice argues that the deal would suppress competition by giving Deere (and Monsanto) a monopoly of planting equipment in the market.

Hot Mower Causes Fire at BrightView Shop
A commercial mower stored when it was still hot is believed to have caused a fire at a BrightView Landscaping maintenance shop in Dayton, Ohio the evening of August 31, reports fox45now.com, which provides an image of the damage on its website. The fire destroyed trucks, mowers and Bobcats, according to the report. As of this writing, no estimate of the dollar amount of damages was available.

Bayer Sweetens Offer to Acquire Monsanto
German pharmaceuticals and crop science major Bayer has yet again sweetened its offer to acquire US-based biotechnology firm Monsanto by over 2 percent, taking the value to over $65 billion. Confirming that it is in “advanced negotiations” with Monsanto concerning a proposed transaction, Bayer said: “While key terms and conditions have not yet been agreed, Bayer would be prepared to provide a transaction consideration of $127.50 per Monsanto share only in connection with a negotiated transaction,” reports moneycontrol.com.

Florida Landscaper Crushed by Falling Tree
Christopher Nichols, 33, who owned a tree trimming and landscaping company here, was killed when a tree he was working on fell on him and crushed him, reports actionnewsjax.com. Nichols, who goes by the name of Adam, was working on a tornado-damaged tree Saturday, August 13, when he slipped and fell and the tree fell on him. Nichols, who was a popular baseball coach in his community, leaves behind two sons and his wife, Leah, who is pregnant with twins. The family has set up a fundraising page to help Nichols’ wife and children.

Spring-Green Hires Director of Business Development
Earlier this summer, Spring-Green Lawn Care hired Brad Saunders, as its director of business development. Saunders is an experienced small business owner, having owned a franchise business, bought and grown a specialty tool repair business, owned a daycare facility and worked as an independent small business advisor. Prior to joining Spring-Green, Brad worked with Advicoach, a franchise organization that provides real life practical advice to business owners who are interested in how to grow their business. In addition, Brad has served as a member of the Potosi Foundation board of directors (2011–2015).

NHLA Announces New Board Members
The National Hispanic Landscape Alliance (NHLA) announces two new board members following recent elections – Rafael Gonzalez Arnau of GALA Services, Inc. in Escondido California, and Wilmer Ventura of Yellowstone Landscape in Atlanta Georgia. Elected to a second 2-year term are Jose Arroyo of Jose’s Landscaping in Lyman South Carolina, Domenic Chiarella of 7 of 7 Best Business & Life Strategies in Southbury Connecticut, and Ivan Giraldo of Clean Scapes Landscaping in Austin Texas. Briggs & Stratton, Cub Cadet, Echo, John Deere, Honda Engines, Hustler, Kawasaki, Kohler, Rotary, and Toro are supporting members of the NHLA.

The NHLA Board of Directors include:

  • President: Juan Torres, Next Step Solutions, East Haven, Connecticut
  • President-Elect: Pam Berrios, ALS Services, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia
  • Immediate Past President: Raul Berrios, Rulyscapes, Inc., Centreville, Virginia
  • Secretary: Jose Arroyo, Jose’s Landscaping, Lyman, South Carolina
  • Treasurer: Domenic Chiarella, 7 of 7 Best Business & Life Strategies, Southbury, Connecticut
  • Directors:
    • Omar Cordero, LC Landscape, Denver, Colorado
    • Rafael Diaz, Diaz Group, LLC, Chicago, Illinois
    • Josh Denison, Denison Landscaping, Inc., Fort Washington, Maryland
    • Ivan Giraldo, Clean Scapes Landscaping, Austin, Texas
    • Mari Medrano Mejia, CoCal Landscape, Denver, Colorado
    • Rafael Gonzalez Arnau, GALA Services, Inc., Escondido, California
    • Wilmer Ventura, Yellowstone Landscape, Atlanta, Georgia
    • Ken Taylor, John Deere, Cary, North Carolina
    • William H. Walton, Honda Power Equipment, Alpharetta, Georgia

SiteWorks Adds Industry Veteran Dennis Lynch to its Team
SiteWorks recently added Dennis J. Lynch as a division manager to its team to further their increasing portfolio of local and statewide commercial tree care accounts. As a 36-year respected veteran of the arboriculture industry, Lynch, holds several industry qualifications, including Registered Consulting Arborist within the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA), a Board Certified Master Arborist & a Tree Risk Assessment Certification within the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and a Certified Treecare Safety Professional within the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA). Lynch will oversee the tree care department and will be integral in around enhancing the internal policies, procedures and practices in addition to servicing & expanding the company’s current commercial client base.

Singh-Knight Joins Esterline Landscape as CEO
Singh-Knight will step in as the new CEO of Esterline Landscape replacing Dan Esterline, who has served in this role since 2006. Singh-Knight comes to Esterline Landscape with almost 25 years of experience in manufacturing and financial services with significant experience as a CEO, as well as other senior management C-level roles. Singh-Knight holds a Master’s Degree in business administration from the University of Florida, as a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (UK), and as a Certified Fellow of the Life Management Institute (FMLI).