Va. Christmas tree growers planning to meet in August
WAYNESBORO, Va. — The Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association is coming to town Aug. 12, 13 and 14 for its annual meeting. This will be the first time in nearly two years that tree growers will have a chance to be together due to COVID-19.
“We have missed being able to see each other and talk trees and all that goes with producing and marketing our products,” association leaders told members in announcing the return of their annual meeting. “We have planned a good program, social activities and a farm tour.”
The convention is headquartered at the Best Western Plus here in Waynesboro. The farm tour on Saturday is of JES Trees in Montebello.
The first day of the convention will be devoted to board activities and vendor set-up.
Friday, Aug. 13, the main program will begin at 8:30 a.m. with registration and a variety of informational presentations.
The first at 10:15 am., will feature a VCTGA expert panel consisting of John Houston, Greg Miller and Dave Thomas discussing Christmas Tree Plantation Establishment.
This will be followed by Stacy Mullen and Daryl Clay of TIMAC AGRO talking about Tree Nutrition-Applied Research and Amendment Applications.
Following Lunch Rob Goodling of Penn State will present a virtual program on “How to set up Fa arm Business with QuickBooks.”
“Marketing Our Products” is the topic for the experts during the next hour.
A business meeting is set for 4 p.m. A social hour and awards dinner will follow.
Saturday will be a day of learning as the group travels to JES trees for a farm tour and discussion of shearing, ground cover management, fertilization and pest control.
The Best Tree Contest at the annual convention has been a tradition for many years. This year Robert O’Keefe of Rifton Tree Farm who organizes the event is urging tree growers to b ring their best trees.
“You should enter the contest,” he told producers in a recent newsletter. “It’s a great publicity and exposure for your farm, it’s a proud tradition of the VCTGA and its lots of fun.”
O’Keefe spoke to some of the reasons people give for not entering the contest.
One is not having a tree big enough to take to Virginia’s governor, the honor bestowed on the winner.
O’Keefe said the occasion will find a big tree for the winner to take to Richmond but will let the winner have the credit and publicity.
Trees entered in the competition must be between six and eight feet tall.
Another misconception is that the tree has to be a Fraser fir and some producers do not grow them. Pines and spruces have been recent winners.
There are four classes in the competition.
They are for all firs; all pines; all spruces; and all other species.
The wreath competition is another popular part of the convention and interest seems to be growing in it. This contest seems to be growing.
The two categories of wreaths are undecorated and decorated.
They must be made of Virginia grown Christmas tree evergreens and 12 inches in diameter.
A highlight of Friday evening will be the Scholarship Auction with Danny Neel as auctioneer.
He makes it fun while helping raise money for the association’s scholarship program.
These are awarded annually to college students majoring in horticulture or forestry.