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December 22, 2014

Christmas Tree Farming: Growers Aim to Attract Younger Consumers

In an effort to boost wilting sales, Christmas tree farms are busy this season catering to younger consumers.

To satisfy younger consumers, growers are offering selections of smaller trees, which are more suitable to apartment or small space living.

Growers are also satisfying the millennial desire for live trees over artificial ones. Some east coast operations are even bringing in a sought-after west coast fir selection, known as noble.

When or if you purchase a tree this Christmas, realize that the fir journeyed long to reach your living room. Christmas tree farming is not a quick process. In fact, it’s a long-term (5-10 years) agricultural venture, requiring a great deal of skill, financial backing, and hard work.

If you’ve ever fantasized about starting a Christmas tree farm of your own, make sure you understand the requirements before taking on this pursuit. You’ll need:

  • A sufficient plot of suitable land.
  • A suitable tree species for the land.
  • Strategic site preparation and planting, including an optimal layout of fields and farm roads to reduce risk of pest problems and to lower harvesting costs.
  • A good deal of capital.
  • Sufficient and periodic labor.
  • Special agricultural equipment.
  • Intensive care, including mechanical mowing, shaping, shearing, pruning and pest control during the growing season to produce a quality product.
  • Integrated pest management, implementing effective cultural practices and pesticide applications to limit pest issues.
  • Optimum fertilization, complete with nutrients that are more resistant to pest issues and environmental stresses.
  • Water quality management to protect sedimentation and contamination by fertilizers or pesticides.
  • Proper groundcover management.
  • Solid record keeping, including a map of the farm layout complete with information on fields, roads, topography, drainage systems, species, number of trees per field, and planting dates clearly reported.
  • A long-term plan and budget to support this long-term, expensive endeavor.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

If you are set on starting a Christmas tree farm, our ag lending team can help. AgAmerica offers agricultural loans covering all facets of farming. Whether it’s time to invest in land for your Christmas tree farm, plant timber, or purchase special agricultural equipment, these ag loans are an excellent choice!

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