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December 20, 2012

Christmas Trees Weather Well in Drought and Bad Economy

For more information on Newsline, contact: Cyndie Sirekis, Director, Internal Communications, American Farm Bureau Federation, cyndies@fb.org.

 
This year the historic drought was a big problem for many crops throughout the country, but not for one of the most important at this time of year. Rick Dungey of the National Christmas Tree Association says it looks like a good year for his members.
Miller:This year the historic drought was a big problem for many crops throughout the country, but not for one of the most important at this time of year. Rick Dungey of the National Christmas Tree Association says it looks like a good year for his members.
Dungey:What you plant in either the winter or the spring isn’t ready for harvest for a number of years. By the time a tree gets ready for harvest whether it’s 5-foot tall or 7-foot tall or 9-foot tall it has a well-established root system and it’s not as susceptible to the weather patterns.
Miller:Though that’s not necessarily the case for tree seedlings, Dungey says tree growers didn’t suffer major losses.
Dungey:Seedlings because they don’t have the established root system are certainly more susceptible to whether it’s too much rain or too little rain. I talked to a pretty big farm in southern Louisiana and he said he’s still dealing with too much moisture in the soil from Hurricane Irene that came through in August. Every single year as farmers plant seedlings they have mortality whether there’s too much rain or too little rain or whether a herd of deer comes through and simply eats them all.
Miller:Last year consumers bought more than 30 million farm-grown Christmas trees and spent more than $1 billion.
Dungey:The economy has never really had an impact on Christmas tree purchases and we’ve been tracking it for years and years and years and have never been able to tie any kind of economic indicator to the number of trees purchased. When I talk to people who have been selling trees for years, they say it doesn’t matter what the economy is doing. If people want a tree, they’re going to buy a tree.
Miller:Johnna Miller, Washington.
Miller:Newsline will be updated next on Thursday, December 27th by 5pm Eastern time. Thank you for listening and happy holidays.

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