Our Farm's Past
The farm that would eventually become Sodco was originally a potato farm. Years later, the farm was sold off and converted into a dairy farm and then sold again to the New York New Haven Railroad - who planned to use the entire area for an industrial complex. This complex was never built and in 1970 the Tucker Family, which had been leasing the land to grow potatoes and sod, bought the farm.
TPI Conference Hosts
The farm has twice hosted the prestigious TPI Conference (Turf Producers International). This event attracts attendees from all across the world to see the latest equipment and advances in the turf industry and our farm was proud to be selected as the host farm for this important event.
Dawson Hodgson is the owner of Sodco, Inc., and has served as company president since 2018. He grew up working in all aspects of the farm, which was founded by his parents Linda Tucker and Richard Hodgson in 1981.
John D. Eidson
Born and raised in RI on a farm, John always had a passion for working with the land. He was a young man when he began his first company, RI Hay, Inc. - the largest hay grower in RI. During this time he attended the University of Rhode Island for 4 years studying Plant and Soil Sciences.
Pat has worked at Sodco since 1982. During his time with the company, he has worked in various capacities and he has been the sales manager since 2000. He attended Bristol Community College and has taken several courses in the Turf Program at the University of Rhode Island.
Assistant Farm Manager
Benjamin was born and raised in Narragansett, RI, and is a proud member of the Narragansett Indian Tribe. He attended URI from 1972 to 1977, and served in the Air Force until 1981. Soon after, Ben was hired as a technician for a local lawn care company, and worked his way from technician to the company's district manager for Rhode Island. After 14 years Ben decided to try his hand with an up-and-coming turf company.
Sean has been in the turf industry for 17 years - the last 10 plus years with Sodco. A 1990 graduate of The Watkinson School in Hartford, CT, Sean attended Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, FL and advanced his turf education at Lake City Community College (now Florida Gateway College) in Lake City, FL, as well as the University of Connecticut.
Jim Studley grew up on a hay farm in West Greenwich, RI. He attended the University of Rhode Island where he earned a B.S. in Environmental Horticulture and Turfgrass Management in 2006.
Chris Murphy is from West Greenwich, RI. He has been in the sod industry for over 10 years, specializing in residential installs and sports/golf turf work.
Sodco through the years
When Sodco took over the farm, it was turned over completely to sod, specifically bluegrass fescue. Over the years, the farm’s crops have been changed to also include bentgrass and turf type tall fescue – including Black Beauty Sod, as well as alternative crops as part of Sodco’s rotation initiatives.
The development rights to 400 acres of farmland were sold, preserving forever the land as a farm and open space. The future of the farm is a bright one as Sodco embraces crop rotations, soil health, the latest in technology and innovation to continue producing New England’s Finest Sod.
SODCO starting growing corn as both a cover crop and for fuel. When the oil prices starting climbing, corn was a more affordable option. SODCO installed two corn boilers, one for the farm offices and second for two residents on the farms property. SODCO has been selling the corn to a number of different customers over the years, from our own employees to a local whiskey company.
SODCO starting growing Turf Type Tall Fescue sod. After a few years of hearing complaints on how much fertilizer and inputs have to be put into the traditional bluegrass lawn, SODCO looked for an alternative product that still has the same or better qualities as the Bluegrass. After years of trying to find the right varieties and the best way to treat the sod we had success!
SODCO starting growing Jonathan Green Black Beauty Tall Fescue. Once SODCO and Jonathan Green starting their relationship, it was a great partnership! SODCO has been exclusively growing Black Beauty and no other Tall Fescue, as our alternative sod ever since! SODCO took the Black beauty’s “American Lawn” and transformed it into a product for all! Golf courses starting using the Black beauty on bunker banks, step cut and rough areas. Universities have starting using it on quads. A few years ago, SODCO sampled the Black Beauty at a shortcut height. Shortcut Black Beauty opened another door for SODCO and Jonathan Green Black Beauty! It has been used on tee boxes, range boxes, fairways, and croquet courts!
SODCO’s farm manager was approached by a seed company to grow a tall fescue Microclover™ blend for a sports field in Brooklyn NY. The project was very hush hush until it passed all compliances. In 2015 it passed everything with flying colors, we starting selling the product to our customers! After a few years of orders here and there, SODCO showcased the Microclover™ Black Beauty on This Old House! The Microclover™ was used at the Idea House in Narragansett and the NET Zero project in Jamestown. SODCO received an ample amount of emails and phone calls about the Microclover™ after the episode aired.
SODCO grew tomatoes, peppers and squash in between rows of Microclover™. We used the grass clippings as a mulch to keep the weeds out! We sold the vegetables to a local grocery store and a local pizza place. After the growing season was over for the crop we over seeded the area with Micoclover™, it filled in just before the winter. We also grew an acre and a half of sunflowers. The sunflowers made for a great summer view, after the flowers were done for the season they were tilled back into the soil. Turns out sunflowers can be a great cover crop for turfgrass.
SODCO is starting to grow hemp for CBD extraction.
We became one of the first farms in the Northeast to purchase a Firefly Automatix R300 harvesting machine. Our sod has never looked better on a pallet!