Patton Seed’s Copeland Selected for Ag Hall of Fame

Ben Copeland, president of the Patten Seed Company, was inducted into the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Classic Center in Athens.

At the young age of 14, Copeland worked in the tobacco fields for the company he now leads. As a college student, he spent his summers planting Tif bermudagrass, developed by the University of Georgia, on golf courses across the Southeast.

After graduating from UGA with a landscape architecture degree in 1967, Copeland designed parks for the Tennessee Department of Conservation. He returned to Georgia in 1970 and took a position with the Patten Seed Company at the urging of its president Bill Roquemore. In 1995, Copeland became president of the company that markets 125 million sq. ft. of sod and more than 200,000 lbs. of grass seed annually.

In addition to managing the company’s turfgrass production, Copeland also manages Patten’s pecan production, which includes a tree nursery that provides more than 30,000 trees annually. More than 80 percent of the company’s pecans are exported to China.

Toro Reports Record Third Quarter Results

The Toro Company reported net earnings of $50 million, or $0.87 per share, on a net sales increase of 11.3 percent to $567.5 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2014. In the comparable fiscal 2013 quarter, the company delivered net earnings of $40.1 million, or $0.68 per share, on net sales of $509.9 million.

For the first nine months, Toro reported net earnings of $163 million, or $2.82 per share, on a net sales increase of 6 percent to $1.759 billion. In the comparable fiscal 2013 period, the company posted net earnings of $149.9 million, or $2.53 per share, on net sales of $1.659 billion.

Professional segment net sales for the third quarter totaled $384.7 million, up 11.9 percent from the comparable fiscal 2013 period. Sales of golf equipment and irrigation products increased on strong retail demand for our innovative product offerings, including Toro Irrigation’s new INFINITYT sprinklers.

Sales also benefitted from the return to a more normal quarterly flow of channel purchases of equipment subject to Tier 4 emission standards, as compared to fiscal 2013 when sales were pulled from the third quarter to the first quarter in connection with the regulatory transition. Turf maintenance and ground engaging equipment sales were up due to continued demand by landscape contractors, the company reported.

Professional segment earnings for the third quarter totaled $74.8 million, up 23.7 percent from the comparable fiscal 2013 period. For the first nine months, professional segment earnings were $244.7 million, up 4.8 percent from the comparable fiscal 2013 period.

Hunter Industries Hires New Product Manager

Hunter Industries hired a new product manager to support its fastgrowing microirrigation business segment.

Robb Kowalewski joins Hunter with several years of leadership in microirrigation product development, marketing and sales. His past work experience combined with a bachelor’s of arts in communication position Kowalewski to have a bright and successful future at Hunter.

Kowalewski was brought on board by Todd Polderman, product marketing manager, who selected him due to his sustained superior performance, broad industry experience and dedication to developing groundbreaking products.

Propane Industry Unveils New Brand and Tagline

The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) announces the launch of a new logo and brand identity for propane, PROPANE Clean American Energy.

The propane industry began working on the research and branding project at the beginning of 2013. The new logo and tagline will be used in all PERC-produced materials and will be made available free of charge to propane providers and OEM partners, such as Roush CleanTech, Exmark and Kohler. The new logo will also replace the previous mark used by thousands of propane retailers nationwide on signs, delivery vehicles, equipment, websites and literature.

The PROPANE Clean American Energy logo will be prominently featured in PERC’s new multimedia safety campaign designed to encourage residential propane heating customers and agribusiness operators, among others, to fill up in advance of the winter season and make arrangements with propane providers to keep tanks full. More information is available at

The Riverside Group Acquires The Dwyer Group … Again

The Dwyer Group, Inc. has been acquired for the second time by The Riverside Company, a private equity fund with locations in North America, Europe and Asia.

The Dwyer Group also owns and operates 35 full-service glass stores in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. Combined, the service brands account for almost $1 billion in annual system-wide revenues.

Riverside first purchased The Dwyer Group in 2003, taking the company private and working with company management to accelerate growth through acquisitions of new brands, expanding facilities at corporate headquarters, and aggressive development of existing franchise brands.

After seven years of growth, the firm sold The Dwyer Group to TZP Group LLC in 2010. The Riverside purchase transfers majority ownership from TZP back to Riverside along with a significant reinvestment from The Dwyer Group executive team, and an investment from each brand president within The Dwyer Group companies.

The entire executive team at The Dwyer Group will remain in place and will work with Riverside to advance the organization to the next level.

Four Rain Bird Academy Classes Endorsed by the IA

The Irrigation Association has designated Rain Bird Academy program’s four Boot Camp classes as part of the IA Select program for quality irrigation education. This marks the first time that the Irrigation Association has awarded the IA Select designation to classes offered by an external training services provider.

The four Boot Camp classes that are now part of the IA Select program also provide attendees with valuable continuing education credits. These non-manufacturer-specific classes include:

  • Introduction to Irrigation and Installation (8 CEUs)
  • Irrigation Technician (16 CEUs)
  • Landscape Irrigation Design Process (8 CEUs)
  • Efficient Irrigation Scheduling (4 CEUs)

Having a course approved as part of the IA Select program is a significant achievement. All IA Select classes must adhere to the IA’s best management practices standards (BMPS) in the design, installation and service of irrigation systems. Providers submit course material to an IA review committee, and those providers with courses meeting specified criteria become members of the IA Select program and bear the IA Select label.

Rain Bird Services will be offering its unique four-and-a-half-day irrigation Boot Camps at 30 locations throughout the United States beginning October 2014 through March 2015, and registrations are now being accepted online.

To register for an event or to learn more about Rain Bird training events throughout the United States and internationally, visit or call 800-498-1942.