A look at JSC’s partnership with the OSU Turfgrass Science Program

After nearly 125 years of business, we remain committed to finding and providing our customers with the best grass and seed products. Unlike other companies, we know it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” solution that works best for every customer’s unique application – and so we work to research, develop and produce improved seed varieties.

For more than 25 years, we’ve held a long-standing partnership with Oklahoma State University’s Turfgrass Science Program. Relying on genetic research from the University, we’ve been able to produce revolutionary bermudagrass seeds for consumers and professionals. One scientist from the OSU program, Dr. Charles Taliaferro, has worked for the University program for 37 years.

“When I first started working with Johnston Seed, we had been looking at developing seed propagated bermudagrasses adapted to the transition zones – something that wasn’t common at that time,” Dr. Taliaferro said.

He was a key team member who helped research, develop and produce Riviera bermudagrass, a revolutionary cold-tolerant turf-type seeded bermudagrass strain that continues to be a popular choice for our customers. In fact, Riviera has been rated the No. 1 turfgrass in the world by National Turfgrass Evaluation Program Trials (NTEP).

Working with Johnston Seed since the early ‘80s, Dr. Taliaferro has continued to be a key partner in the research and development of our products.

“With Dr. Taliaferro’s help in our breeding program, we are able to produce advanced bermudagrass seeds that will outperform those currently on the market,” Joey Meibergen, our president and CEO, said. “He has been a pillar of our development, allowing us to create game-changing products for our customers.”

Our bermudagrass varieties have something many others won’t – they are far more tolerant to extreme stress. Specifically, a grass variety that we are currently developing is being engineered for extreme cold-tolerance, allowing it to expand beyond the geographic region where bermudagrass can typically be grown.

To honor our partnership with Dr. Taliaferro in his time at OSU, our breeding program, and beyond, we’ve endowed an OSU scholarship in his name, to be given to a graduate student studying Grass Breeding and Genetics.

“We look forward to many more years of partnership with OSU and Dr. Taliaferro to advance seed agriculture,” Joey said.   

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