VCTGA News Journal Fall'11

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News Journal for Virginia Grown Christmas Trees Published by the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association Volume1,1,Issue Issue 33 Volume

Fall2011 2011 Fall

Inside this Issue:

Inside this Issue:

Marketing Materials - 2 Order Form - 3 MarketingVCTGA Materials -2 Board - 4 Order Form 3 Presidentially Speaking - 5 VCTGA Board - 4 -5 Steps for Change Presidentially Speaking - 5- 6 VCTGA Good Things Steps Neel for Change - 5 -6 Receives Awards VCTGAMinutes Good Highlights Things 6- 8 Scholarship Recipient Neel Receives Awards - 6- 9 Sponsor Thanks! Minutes Highlights - 8- 9 Meeting Survey - 9 Scholarship Recipient - 9 Memories-Fred Wagoner - 10 Sponsor Thanks! - 9 Virginia Farming - 14 Meeting Survey - 9 Mt. Rogers Seed Orchard - 15 MemoriesImprove - FredFarm Wagoner - 10 Marketing - 15 Virginia Farming 14 - 17 Becoming a “Fan” Christmas Tree Month Good/Bad Tree?-- 14 18 Updates - -2015 Mt. Rogers National Seed Orchard Trees For Troops - -2215 Improve Farm Marketing What’s “TIP”- -17 26 Becoming a “Fan” Contest Winners Good/Bad Tree? - 18- 27


Real Tree


National Updates - 20 Trees For Troops - 22 What’s “TIP” - 26 Contest Winners - 27 Advertisers

Kelco - 7 Christmas Hill - 7 Strathmeyer Forests - 10 Tree Teck - 12 Riverside - 12 Kelco - Enterprises 7 Alpha Nursery-- 9 14 Strathmeyer Forests Bosch’s Countryview Tree Teck - 11- 17 Nursery Christmas - 11- 22 TimHill Mitchell Cherokee Mfg.- 26 Riverside Enterprises 11 Fraser Knoll 28 Alpha Nursery - 13


Bosch’s Countryview Nursery - 16 Tim Mitchell - 21 Cherokee Mfg - 25 Fraser Knoll - 28

VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

produced by your |1

Marketing Materials for VCTGA Members Ad with photo thumbnails, broMarketing Materials for chure covers, new logo

VCTGA Members Ad with photo bro“Experience A thumbnails, Real Christmas” chure covers,Brochure new logo promoting Consumer real trees and space on the back panel for a label with your farm in“Experience A to Real formation. Great giveChristmas” out at civic Consumer Brochure promoting meetings, farm tours, fairs, conreal trees and space on the back sumer events, etc. (See front cover) panel for a label with your farm in“Experience a toReal formation. Great give Christmas” out at civic 18”x24” sign grommet meetings, farmwith tours, fairs, holes conand an “H” wire stand for display in sumer events, etc. the open. “Experience a Real Christmas” Color Photos the marketing 18”x24” sign used with in grommet holes brochures/signs to use in your marand an “H” wire stand for display in keting info or on your website. the open.

How Bout This One Child/Star/Tree

Color Photos used in the marketing brochures/signs to use in your marketing info or on your website.

Family/Buy/Tree Couple/Baby/Tree


Kids Running


VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

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VCTGA News Journal ‐ Fall 2011

VCTGA News Journal ‐ Fall 2011

Firm/Company Name: Address: City: Farm Phone: Email:

State: Phone:


Check Preferred


Web/Low Print/High Resolution Resolution

Member Price

Non‐ Member Price




Photos Hi/Res Child/Star/Tree Couple/Baby/Tree Family/Buy/Tree How Bout This One Kids Running Trees/Snow VCTGA Logo Print VCTGA Logo Web

All zipped

PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS Brochure Consumer Brochure Buyer/Seller Banner Only 3x6’ Banner & Retractable Stand Banner & Retractable Stand Sign 18” X 24” Christmas Tree Tags Farm Sign


Loan for consumer events, fairs, club meetings “H’ wire stand & grommets Front/Back sign

Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free


$15/100 $15/100 $75@

$30/100 $30/100 $150.00 @




Shipping to you & return

$10 @


$11.00/100 $25.00

$20.00/100 N/A

Quantity Amount 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

$150.00 $150.00 $150.00 $150.00 $150.00 $150.00 N/A N/A




Plus Shipping/Handling $ Make Check payable to VCTGA Check # Credit Card # Expires (Req.) Circle One Visa Mastercard AmExpress Discover Security # (Req.) Signature: Mail to: VCTGA 383 Coal Hollow Rd Christiansburg, VA 24073‐6721

Or fax with credit card info to: 540‐382‐2716 VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

Questions Call: 1‐540‐382‐7310 Email: |3

VCTGA Officers Boardof ofDirectors Directors 2012 VCTGA Officers &&Board 2012 Officers Virginia Chisholm Carroll, President 207 Fairway Drive, Louisa, VA 23093-6522 (H) 540-967-1076 home 540-872-3817 Farm 540-872-8027 Cell Tim Williams, Past President Spruce Rock Farm 1104 Morningwood Ln Great Falls VA 22066 Phone: 540.543.2253 Greg Lemmer, Vice President Boy’s Home Christmas Tree Farm 306 Boy’s Home Rd Covington VA 24426-5518 PH: 540-965-7700 Fax: 540-965-7702 Jeff Miller, Secretary/Treasurer VCTGA Newsletter Editor Horticulture Management Associates LLC 383 Coal Hollow Rd Christiansburg VA 24073-6721 540-382-7310 (Office) 540-382-2716 (fax) 540-250-6264 cell 540-382-7575 Home

Horticulture Management Associates LLC


Sue Bostic, Grants Director 5110 Cumberland Gap Rd Newport VA 24128 540-544-7303

Derick Proctor, Director 1 yr. Pott’s Creek Tree Farm 5923 Old Cheney Hwy Orlando FL 32807-3639 321-217-3170

Fred Shorey, Ex-officio Dir. 1 yr. Tall Tree Farm 154 Way Station LN Kents Store, VA 23084-2126 804-305-6760 Home/cell

Charlie Conner, Director 1 yr. 970 Snider Branch Rd. Marion, VA 24354 home 276-783-7732 Cell 276-685-2392 Robert O’Keeffe, Director 1-yr. Scholarships Rifton Farm & Nursery 240 Rifton Lane Pilot, Va. 24138 Home 540-651-8440 Cell 540-580-3528 ---------------------------------------Jocelyn Lampert, Director 2 yr. Crazy Joe’s Christmas Tree Farm 18028 Carrico Mills Road Elkwood VA 22718 Home: 540-423-9020 Dave Thomas, Director 2 yr. Valley Star Farms 390 Almond Drive Luray VA 22835 Home: 540-860-8040 Donna O’Halloran, Director 2 yr. Glengary Christmas Tree Farm PO Box 503 Rixeyville, VA 22737-0503 540-937-2335 (Nov-Dec) 540-937-3021 Home 540-937-7529 fax

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Ex-officio Directors

Sherrie Taylor, National Director Severt’s Tree Farm 500 Comers Rock Rd Elk Creek VA 24326-2551 276-655-3969 Office 276-982-3819 fax Danny Neel, Industry Advisors VDACS, Marketing Specialist 250 Cassell Rd Wytheville VA 24382-3317 Phone: 276-228-5501 Cell: 804-477-4113 Fax: 276-228-6579 David Robishaw, Industry Advisor VDACS, Marketing 900 Natural Resources Dr Ste 300 Charlottesville, VA 22903 434-984-0573 phone 434-984-4156 fax 804-357-3014 Kyle Peer, Industry Advisor VA Tech Dept of Forestry PO Box 70, Critz VA 24082-0070 Phone: 276-694-4135

VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011 VCTGA News Journal ‐ Fall 2011

Presidentially Speaking… President Shares “Tale of Penguins” O.K., so I’m back on a “book kick” again! First, there were some personal favorites of mine, such as Who Moved My Cheese? and Fish. Then, there was The Big Moo. After The Big Moo, the whole thing came along with the M & M’s and Moon Pies. If you haven’t been reading my articles, my apologies, you won’t have a clue as to what all this is about. At any rate, I now want to share some thoughts on a new favorite- Our Iceberg Is Melting by John Kotter from Harvard Business School and Holger Rathgeber. This bestselling little book shares some great insights into “changing and succeeding under any conditions”-information that might be useful to us as an organization and as an industry.

First, let’s take a quick look at the book. This super little fable introduces us, the readers, to an emperor penguin colony in Antarctica and a huge problem that they must face. We see that this colony had been doing quite well for years. Suddenly, they, the penguins, were called upon to face the reality of a BIG problem in an ever-changing world. It quite obviously was not an easy time for the penguins. These happy, set in their ways colony members had to face the prospect of a melting iceberg (that’s their home). The book takes us through the difficulties the colony encounters. First, there’s the whole thing of accepting the reality that there is, in fact, a problem. The problem had to be identified, verified, and researched properly. Then, if there was in fact a problem, solutions had to be envisioned and considered. What could be done about IT!

VCTGA News Journal – Summer 2011

VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

Along the way in the story, the fable, we’re introduced to a cast of some great characters, characters who had done quite well living without substantial change for many, many years. That cast of characters includes penguins with names like Fred, Alice, Louis, Buddy, the Professor (no we’re not on Gilligan’s’ Island and there’re won’t be a Skipper, Mary Ann, a millionaire, and a movie star), and NoNo. While we are getting to know these guys we begin to see that they might remind us of some people we know. Obviously, it’s no surprise that in a situation where change is looming, there’s bound to be resistance to change, but there’s also heroic action. To make a short story shorter, this tale points us to eight steps (check out the side bar) that can help us along the way; steps that can help us to charter a new course- a course which will allow us to better succeed or even survive in an ever-changing world. And that’s why I’m excited to share my passion for this book. Of course, it’s a great penguin story (a story for all ages by the way), but more importantly, it is a story gives that us the tools to change and to succeed under any conditions. I think we, the VCTGA and the Christmas tree industry, could learn a lot from this easily digested book and the eight simple steps outlined. We have some very real problems and obstacles to overcome. Our success depends on how well and perhaps how quickly we can identify the problems, challenges, and obstacles facing our industry. Once we’ve identified them we can then determine what course to take and act upon that plan - how to change and handle them.

The Eight Step Process of Successful Change (Taken from Our Iceberg Is Melting)

Set the Stage 1) Create a Sense of Urgency (Help others to see the need) 2) Pull Together the Guiding Team (leadership, credibility, & communication skills are needed) Decide What to Do 3) Develop the Change Vision and Strategy Make it Happen 4) Communicate for Understanding and Buy In 5) Empower Others to Act- Remove obstacles 6) Produce Short-Term Wins- Everyone likes to win & be rewarded 7) Don’t Let Up- Persist Make It Stick 8) Create a New CultureHang in there Virginia Chisholm Carroll, VCTGA President

Available on

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These problems and obstacles, include everything from consumer fears and concerns about the messiness, freshness, allergy risks, and fire safety of our product to whether or not we use chemicals in production, and, of course, the ever present question as to whether or not are we or are we are harming or benefitting the environment. How are we going to deal with these and other issues and once we’ve come up with the solutions how can we better communicate these facts to consumers and retail buyers alike. Are we willing to remain informed about the advantages of using social media and other, yet to be created, forms of cultural communication and are we willing to use these? In closing, consider getting a copy of this insightful little book as a gift for someone else or maybe yourself (Christmas Is Coming!) Thanks for reading, next time; I might be sharing my thoughts on “agripreneurs”!

Virginia Chisholm Carroll, VCTGA President

VCTGA Check List It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Christmas tree business and to be a part of Virginia’s flagship Christmas tree organization, VCTGA. Obviously, as well, we’re approaching “our season”. The most wonderful time of the year! Here’s a check list of some of the good things we’ve got going for us . That’s right a list of what we’re doing right!

 New look for our new journal VIRGINIA EVERGREEN  Renewed commitment to marketing, facilitated by a grant from VDACS  Partnering with VIRGINIA FARMING and our “on air friend of the industry” Jeff Ishee  Stronger commitment to strengthening the working relationship with the Mt. Rogers Christmas Tree Growers Association  Great VCTGA staff support from our capable and professional associational secretary Jeff Miller and his wife Sandy  Great support from VDACS and marketing specialist Danny Neel.  Stronger ties with Virginia Tech and the resources the university can provide our industry  A new slate of officers and directors, both old and new, who are bringing a combination of experience and expertise to our organization along with the focus and perspective of a couple of our newer members  A commitment to strong annual meeting with worthwhile informative program options – We’re already working on the 2012 meeting in Waynesboro where we’ll Meet in the Valley  Proclamation from Governor’s Office designating December as “VIRGINIA CHRISTMAS TREE MONTH”

These are just a few of the good things we might list. You could probably supply a few items of your own. Here’s to a great “selling season”! -provided by Virginia Carroll

Attractive new logo and promotional materials (Contact our secretary Jeff Miller if you’re in need of brochures, etc.) 6

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Neel Receives VCTGA President's Award Danny Neel, Marketing Specialist with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, requires no introduction to VCTGA members and this year we were able to thank him in a tangible way for his work with our organization by awarding him the VCTGA President's Award. At the Annual VCTGA Meeting in Blacksburg in August, Danny was presented with a plaque that read "in recognition of his outstanding initiative, support, and service to VCTGA and to the Virginia Christmas tree industry".

(l-) Danny Neel receives VCTGAVCTGA Award from (l-r) Danny Neel receives Commissioner Agriculture, Matt Lohr and Award from of Commissioner of AgriculVCTGA President Carroll. ture, Matt Lohr Virginia and VCTGA President Virginia Carroll

Danny has been and continues to be an integral part of the work of our industry working closely with our board as an advisor and has contributed greatly to advancing the cause of promoting and selling Virginia Grown Christmas trees. Danny is well know to both the growers of VCTGA and the Mt. Rogers Christmas Tree Growers Association and, indeed, the entire Southwest Virginia area. It was especially good to have had Commissioner Matt Lohr on hand at the meeting's banquet to assist with the presentation of the award to Danny.

VCTGA News Journal ‐ Fall 2011

VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

President, Virginia Carroll expressed her personal gratitude to Danny for his ongoing involvement with the organization and the industry. Carroll openly shared that he has been a key part in supporting the association and the industry during her tenure as president. Danny remains abreast of the market and works to keep up with innovations being put in place for growers and buyers alike. His positive involvement and the job he does in helping to better connect the association to the resources available to us through VDACS provides a tremendous boost to our work and that of the Christmas tree industry in Virginia. Virginia Carroll, VCTGA President

Danny Neel helps Virginia Farmers Market their Products WYTHEVILLE, Va. — People in Southwest Virginia who have farm products to sell and those wanting to buy those products know who to ask about the marketing of those goods. His name is Danny Neel, marketing specialist with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). Early in August, the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association found a way to say "thank you" to Neel for what he has done in helping them sell the real Christmas trees grown across the state. VCTGA President Virginia Carroll presented Neel with the group's President's Award at the growers' annual convention in Blacksburg. Christmas trees are just one of the Virginia crops Neel works to market

Ad - Kelco

VCTGA News Journal – Summer 2011

VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

across the states. Working to sell fruits and vegetables and processed foods is also part of Neel's work for VDACS."I love working with growers," Neel said. "I've developed a good relationship with buyers. I love to work with them." His job entails working both with the people who grow and process the foods to find markets and with the people who want to sell them. The morning he was interviewed he was busy putting together an assortment of promotional materials for a major chain store interested in selling locally grown Virginia foods. The colorful posters developed by VDACS use the “Virginia Grown” slogan and logo and identify products "Fresh from the Farm Fresh to You." In Blacksburg, Carroll and Neel introduced the new marketing materials he has worked with the VCTGA to develop to help market real Virginia Christmas trees. These feature a new logo and the slogan "Experience A

Ad - Christmas Hill

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Real Tree." The "Virginia Grown" logo is also an important tool for Neel in the work he does. "The good thing about the state of Virginia is we've got the support of the governor, the secretary of agriculture and forestry, the commissioner and those all the way down," he said. "It's a team effort."He pointed out that the governor always takes along some agriculture folks when he goes overseas. Neel is a native of Tazewell County, Va., where he grew up on a dairy and beef cattle farm, so his roots are in agriculture and the work it takes to make a living. He earned an associate degree in business management, but started working even before he finished his studies. In those days, the state had what was known as the Crop Reporting Service, and he began working part time for them. Jim Shelburne, an experienced livestock service grader, knew Neel and asked him to come to work in the Livestock Grading Service in 1978, Neel recalled. He worked part time for Shelburne until 1983, when he became a full-time livestock grader. "In 1988," Neel said, "this position was created. "I applied." He got the job. "I changed careers in September 1988," he said. "The state set up six regular market managers across the state of Virginia and I was one of them." "The biggest thing I have worked with the Department of Agriculture (in creating) is the farmers market in Hillsville," Neel said, referring to the Southwest Virginia Farmers Market at Exit 14 off Interstate 77. It was up in running in 1995 and is one of the most important farmers markets in the state. The market offers both wholesale and retail components, according to its website. The retail market gives vendors a year-round venue to sell "their farm fresh produce, produce-related items, in season plants and area arts and crafts," the site states. The Wholesale Warehouse is also a year-round operation. It distributes local produce to grocery market chains and is equipped with cooling, packing and grading capabilities.


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Things have changed since Neel started his job 23 years ago. He recalls that back then many of the Christmas tree growers he worked with had most of their trees sold by July or before. As this industry has grown, he has seen it become more competitive, especially with growers in other states. As a result, the need to become more savvy marketers has grown as well. He sees the growth in marketing skills as partly a combination of demand and "of our people getting innovative." He pointed to an innovation discussed at the VCTGA meeting where a grower told of putting tags on all his trees showing who grew them and where. The tags also tell how to care for a real Christmas tree to make it last and keep it safe. One bit of advice Neel offered the tree growers probably applies to all the producers he deals with in his line of work: "Return your calls," he urged. He said he gets calls from potential buyers who have tried to reach a producer by leaving a message on a telephone answering machine and never get a return call. The same goes for email. Neel also works with the Virginia Pumpkin Growers Association, which had scheduled its annual Summer Tour/Field Day for Sunday, Sept. 11, in Riner, VA. Allen Straw gave a presentation on production issues and crop status, and participants got a look at variety trials, herbicide trials, fungicide trials and other production concerns. The tour was held at the Brann/King Farm and Sinkland Farm. By Jane W. Graham Virginia Correspondent, The Mid-Atlantic Grower

Highlights from the Board and Annual Membership Minutes Marketing Grant Updates – Jeff reported that some grant funds had been spent on the work by Tom Kegley Communications on the new logo and the new brochures and there will be more grant expenses in Au

gust. Expenses are in line with the grant budget and he will start filing for reimbursements from VDACS for the grant this month. He noted that copies on the new Buy/Sell Brochure and the “Experience a Real Tree” marketing brochures were available at the registration desk and the new display banner was setup. All the graphics are owned by the VCTGA and members are encouraged to use these graphics in their marketing programs which will help tie in local marketing. There may be a one-day winter marketing meeting this upcoming winter.

"Helping Virginia Farming" program, by Jeff Ishee, was reviewed by Virginia Carroll. The program consist of opening and closing ad spots on his program, a spot during the program and he will use the VCTGA as a resource for information, interviews and links on his website. The investment for two years would be $2,000 and would come out of the current marketing grant. Robert O’Keeffe and J.B. Snelson

Scholarship – Robert O’Keeffe reported that the 2011 scholarship had been awarded to J.B. Snelson, a graduate student at Virginia Tech and he had helped conduct the tours at the Hahn Garden on Thursday evening and was also at the BBQ dinner. He recommended that this year’s scholarship auction to be in memory of Fred Wagoner who passed away last week and had been a supplier, friend and mentor to many in the Christmas tree industry. A motion was made to approve this, seconded and passed. To review a complete set of the minutes from the VCTGA Board Meeting on August 3 or the VCTGA Annual Meeting on August 5, contact the VCTGA office at 540-382-7310 or

VCTGA News Journal ‐ Fall 2011

VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

Thanks to our Sponsors!

Survey of Growers Attending 2011 Annual Meeting


cluded in their packets. Only 11 surveys were returned. That is probably another indication that the meeting was a success. Growers were generally satisfied with the program content. Several commented positively on the Roadside Marketing in a Digital Age. Others appreciate the Pesticide Recertification component.

Crop Production Services Farm Credit of the Virginias FarmBureau – Floyd VA Farm Bureau Federation Landscape Supply Power Zone Southern States Cooperative Sign A Rama Reliable Sources – Jim Rockis

The reaction of members attending the 2011 annual meeting was very positive.

  

The Scholarship Auction & Raffle raised over $2,500 for the Scholarship Fund!

A number of growers commented personally to me that the meeting was outstanding. A couple said they thought the program was the best of the meetings they had attended.

    

Suggestions for future program subjects included: 

All registrants had a survey form inStrathmeyer Ad VA CTGA

7.5 x 5.pdf


experience of growers with various tree species what is selling in shops organic tree growing summaries of research on various cultural practices hands on wreath-making shearing pines more on fungal problems exotic species show and tell on modified tools by members

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Four Generations of Quality Evergreens and Nursery Stock Bareroot Seedlings, and Transplants Cut Christmas Trees Balled & Burlapped Trees 255 Zeigler Road PO Box 70 Dover, PA 17315 717-292-5683 800-345-3406 Fax 717-292-4129 VCTGA News Journal – Summer 2011 VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

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thought the as reasonable gesting that it ially the food.

that growers g were highly always room I am sure our o work to orfor 2012.

Most commenters thought the cost of the hotel was reasonable with acommenters couple suggesting Most commenters thoughtthat theit  Most thought the was bit high-especially the food. cost of the hotel was reasonable cost of the hotel was reasonable with a couple suggesting that it with a couple suggesting that it Generally, it appears that growers was bit high-especially the food. was bitthe high-especially thehighly food. attending meeting were satisfied. But there is always room Generally, it appears that growers Generally, it appears that growers for improvement and I am sure our attending the meeting were highly attending the meeting were highly Board will continue to work to orsatisfied. But there is always room satisfied. But there is always room ganize a great meeting for improvement and IIfor am2012. sure our our for improvement and am sure BoardProvided will continue continue to work to to ororBoard will work by Steve to Satterfield, ganize a great meeting for 2012. Annual Meeting ganize2011 a great meeting forChair 2012. 

Provided by by Steve Steve Satterfield, Satterfield, Provided 2011 Annual Annual Meeting Meeting Chair Chair 2011

Enjoying at networking break at the Annual Meeting Enjoying a networking break at the Annual Enjoying at networking networking break break Enjoying at Meeting. at the the Annual Annual Meeting Meeting at

Judges grading trees in the VCTGA Tree Contest. See the winners of this and thegrading Wreathtrees Contest onVCTGA page 27. Judges grading trees inthe the VCTGA Judges inin Tree Judges grading trees the VCTGA Contest. See the winners of this and the Tree Contest. See the winners of this Tree Contest. See the winners of this Wreath onContest page 27.on and the theContest Wreath Contest on page page 27. 27. and Wreath


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My Memories of Fred Wagoner

any neighboring farms they could bargain with. any neighboring farmstrees theyin could could any farms they Theyneighboring began to plant rows bargain with. bargain with.preparing for the next and started year’s began opportunity They began toWhen plant an trees in rows rows They plant trees in came to buy trees from northern and started preparing for the next and started preparing for the next states Fred and John began selling year’s harvest. When an opportunity year’s harvest. When an opportunity different scotch came to varieties buy trees treessuch fromasnorthern northern came to buy from pine and Canadian balsam fir, states Fred and and John began began selling states Fred John selling shipped by rail to the Greensboro different varieties such as scotch different varieties such as scotch stationand with snow still clinging pine and Canadian balsamto the fir, pine Canadian balsam fir, branches. shipped by rail to the Greensboro shipped by rail to the Greensboro station with snow snow stillaway clinging toGibthe station with still clinging the With money money tucked ato With tucked away at at a Gibsonbranches. branches. sonville the brothers for ville bankbank the brothers left forleft college college in 1940. They worked at difWith money tucked away at a Gibin 1940. They worked at different jobsWith money tucked away at a Gibferent jobsdonuts student’s and resonville bankselling the repairing brothers left for for selling donuts and sonville bank the brothers left pairing student’s shoes. World War college in 1940. They worked at difshoes. World War II interrupted their college in 1940. They worked at difII interrupted theirand college college education both education served in ferent jobsselling donuts and rereferent jobsselling donuts and and both served in the armed forces, the armed forces, serving in the 104th pairing student’s shoes. World War pairing student’s shoes. World War th serving in thetheir 104 DiviInfantry Division of college theInfantry US Army from II interrupted their college education Fred Wagoner at the 2010 VCTGA II interrupted education sion both of the US Army from 1942 to 1942 to 1945. Fred his Bachand both served in received the armed armed forces, Annual Meeting, Waynesboro and served in the forces, th th elor’s degree in 1947, continued work 1945. Fred received his Masters deserving in the 104 Infantry Diviserving in the 104 Infantry DiviFred Wagoner at 2010 the 2010 2010 VCTGA Fred Wagoner at the VCTGA Annual Fred Wagoner at the VCTGA on Master’s degree and greea of in 1947US became a1942 county ByMeeting, Tommy Naylor sion of the USand Army frombecame 1942 toa Annual Waynesboro Meeting, Waynesboro. sion the Army from to Annual Meeting, Waynesboro county agent, just like his father before The Christmas spirit and the Wagagent, just like his father before him. 1945. Fred received his Masters de1945. Fred received his Masters dehim. andhisand John both played footoner family seems Naylor to be synonyJohn,Fred way played gree ingoing 1947 and became county By Tommy Tommy Naylor gree in 1947 became aa football county By ball and wrestled at NC State. Both mous with each other. However, it at NC State and soon signed with the The Christmas Christmas spirit spirit and and the the WagWagagent, just just like like his his father father before before him. him. The agent, received offers toway play for the Philadid not come that wayit was hard Philadelphia Eagles for a pro career. oner family seems to be synonyJohn, going his played football oner family seems to be synonyJohn, going his way played football delphia Eagles, but John signed earnedwith for the andHowever, labor Fred The Canadian lured John and mous with eachlove other. However, it at NC State andleague soononly signed with the mous each other. it at NC State and soon signed with the with the there Philadelphia Eagles for a pro and twin brother John Wagoner put played several years before did not come that wayit was hard Philadelphia Eagles for a pro career. did not come that way- it was hard Philadelphia Eagles for a pro career. career. The league into it. Developing lovelabor was Fred hard coming backCanadian to farm and sell earned for the the love lovetheand and labor Fred The Canadian league lured Johnlured and earned for The Canadian league lured John and John and he played there several years work but both truly enjoyed what Christmas trees. and twin twin brother brother John John Wagoner Wagoner put put played there there several several years years before before and played before coming back to farmand and sell sell they it. did. into it. Developing the the love love was was hard hard coming back to farm farm into Developing coming to and earsell Fred met back Dot Mann some years Christmas trees. work but both truly enjoyed what Christmas trees. work but both truly enjoyed what Christmas Fred, twin brother John and a sister lier, being trees. involved with 4-H. They they did. they weredid. raised on a farm in Guilford were married in 1946 began Fred met Dot Mann someand years earFred met Dot Mann some years earCounty. Fred’s father, J.I. Wagoner their life together in the Christmas Fred, twin brother John and a sister lier, being involved with 4-H. They brother Paul lier, being involved with 4-H. They Fred, twin brother brother John, John and a sister and a mother, Homewood tree industry. Both brothers were were raised on Eunice farm on in Guilford were married in in 1946 and began began and sister were aGuilford farm in were were raised on aaraised farm in married 1946 and named their domain Wagwood lured to the mountains for further County. Fred’s father, J.I. Wagoner their life together in the Christmas Guilford County. Fred’s father, J.I. County. Fred’s father, J.I. Wagoner their life together in the Christmas Farms.mother, Here hard work ethic was interest in Christmas tree growing. and mother, Eunice Homewood tree industry. Both brothers brothers were Wagoner andthe mother, Eunice Homeand Eunice Homewood tree industry. Both were instilled and guided by their father’s At Roan Mountain the National Park named their domain Wagwood lured to the mountains for further further wood named domainWagwood Wagwood lured to the mountains named their their domain for easy going personality. Service began to sell tracts or Farms. Here the hard work ethic was interest in Christmas tree growing. hard work work ethic ethic was was interest in Christmas tree growing. Farms. Here the hard boundaries for trees to cut. They instilled and guided by their father’s At Roan Mountain the National Park guided by their father’s instilled andDepression guided by their At Roan Mountain the National Park During the yearsfather’s Fred’s acquired some the sell land and began easy going personality. Service beganof to to sell tracts or personality. easy going personality. Service began tracts or fathergoing planted red cedar trees beto top out Fraser firs and get them to boundaries for trees to cut. They boundaries for trees to cut. They tween rows of loblolly years pines Fred’s to sell During the Depression Depression years Fred’s During the market. Here they developed several acquired some of the land and began acquired some of the land and began for timber. Eventually the unsheared father planted red cedar cedar trees bebefather planted red trees methods get wild Frasers off the to top out outtoFraser Fraser firs and and get them them to to top firs get to trees were taken to Greensboro and tween rows rows of of loblolly loblolly pines pines to to sell sell tween mountain. Eventually they bought market. Here they developed several market. Here they developed several soldtimber. for oneEventually to two dollars each. The for timber. Eventually the unsheared unsheared for the land to plant Fraser seedlings methods to get get wildfirFrasers Frasers off and the methods to wild off the money both brothers made help fitrees were taken to Greensboro and trees were taken to Greensboro and learned to fertilize, shear andbought manmountain. Eventually they bought mountain. Eventually they nancefor way college at The NC sold fortheir one to to twotodollars dollars each. The sold one two each. age pests to produce good quality land to plant plant Fraser fir fira seedlings seedlings and land to Fraser and State University. Each successive money both brothers made help fimoney both brothers made help fitree imaginable at that time. learned to fertilize, shear and manmanlearned to fertilize, shear and year they continued to earn money nance their their way way to to college college at at NC NC nance age pests to produce produce good quality quality age to aa good by cutting trees from farm and As apests district 4-H specialist at the State University. Eachthesuccessive successive State University. Each tree imaginable at that time. tree imaginable at that time. School of Agriculture at NC State year they continued to earn money year they continued to earn money by cutting trees from the farm and As a district 4-H specialist at the by cutting trees from the farm and As a district 4-H specialist at the VCTGA News Journal ‐ Fall 2011 School of Agriculture at NC State School of Agriculture at NC State any neighboring farms they could bargain with. VCTGA News Journal ‐ Fall 2011 VCTGA News Journal ‐ Fall 2011 They began to plant trees in rows and started preparing for the next year’s harvest. When an opportunity came to buy trees from northern VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011 states Fred and John began selling different varieties such as scotch pine and Canadian balsam fir, shipped by rail to the Greensboro

My Memories of Fred Wagoner My Memories Memories of of My Fred Wagoner Wagoner Fred

Fred continued to be involved in the Christmas tree business. Sometime thereafter Fred bought a farm in Ashe County in what it would become Fraser Knoll. Here, Fred grew and nurtured hundreds of Fraser firs, along with white pine and Norway spruce. By 1979 a thriving Christmas tree supply and equipment business was started to meet growers needs from field mowers, shearing tools, balers, wreath rings to rolls of ribbon for bows to wreath picks and the like. Retail lots rounded out the Christmas tree venture in Raleigh and Greensboro, where fresh wreaths and garland was made on the premises, even unto this day. The success over the many years of quality trees has earned the Wagoner name a high reputation among customers.

My Association with the Wagoner’s Along about the time the Eastern NC

Christmas Tree Association was being formed, a new outlet for Fred and Dot came into being. This new association formed to serve the needs of growers outside the mountains who were choose and cut retailers. On their displays were all the essential tools to run the seasonal business, from tree netting, tree colorants, stands, wreath rings and so much more. The growing association patronized the Wagoner’s business as they brought ordered merchandise to the meetings each year. The love and personality of Fred and Dot was overwhelming and it was at these meetings I got to see the love and compassion they revealed. Through all the years Fred and Dot were fixtures at state Christmas tree meetings. To walk through the Fraser Knoll booth at trade shows was an event to look forward to- to see what was new for the upcoming sales season. I knew of nothing that the Wagoner’s didn’t have that I

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VCTGA News Journal – Summer 2011

VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

could utilize to equip and expand my operation. They have all I will ever need.

My Memories of Fred I remember the first time Fred invited me to come and spend the weekend with them at their mountain home near Laurel Springs. It was about ten years ago when Watauga County hosted the NCCTA summer meeting in Boone. What a treat it was to be invited to spend time with the Wagoner’s and not have to rush to get home. A modest, comfortable home situated on a high ridge affording magnificent views to the northeast caught my eye and the views I cannot forget. As the terrain falls behind their home, the hills are covered in lots of well groomed Fraser firs in a pattern that only a photographer or artist could appreciate. The lawn was landscaped with a beautiful blue spruce where the Fraser Knoll sign stood out front, along

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Page 11

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with birch and a large Norway spruce in the back. Sometime later, in appreciation of my stay I gave Dot two variegated Weigelia and a pee gee hydrangea to include in their landscape. Future trips to Fraser Knoll always included treats from home such as sweet potatoes, pears or grapes to show my gratitude for their invitations. At night before sleeping in, the sleep was restful and peaceful. Crickets and cows off at a distance provided a serenade to be lulled to sleep, comforted by cool mountain air. Air conditioning here is not needed.

A Day at Whitetop Around 2003 or so I was privileged to come along with Fred and Dot to the Mount Rogers Christmas Tree Association meeting held each mid September at White Top, Virginia. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon as we wound our way north of Jefferson through some of the most spectacular, unspoiled mountain scenery Ashe County has to offer. Upon entering Virginia, Route 58 hair pinned and twisted up to some of Virginia’s highest elevations past the Grayson Highlands State Park and finally to the White Top Fire and Rescue Station where the afternoon meeting convened in a nice community hall. Fred always brought supplies in the camper shelled truck to sell on the grounds of the meeting site. Sometimes a few things sold , sometimes not. It was here I met Danny Neel, VDACS marketing specialist. From that time on I always looked forward to Danny’s appearance at the VCTGA meetings. Fred always bragged how good the Mount Rogers group was and the supper the local ladies served in the community hall was a treat to enjoy. How right he was! The supper itself was reason enough to attend the Sunday afternoon meeting.


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As the decade progressed, I felt a close bond to the Wagoner’s for my appreciation for all they have done and still do. To me it was an empty void filled after my mother’s passing in 2002. I had more time to associate and enjoy them whether it was one the NCCTA meetings or at their mountain home. Whenever I could, a trip to the mountains would include a stop at Fraser Knoll just see how Fred and Dot were doing. It was routine that I would stop by to get the supplies I ordered and spend a little time before I reluctantly headed home. As long as he could Fred would continue to attend the state Christmas tree meetings but eventually time would catch up and Fred was afflicted with hip problems. A replacement procedure was done and soon he would be back on his feet by way of a cane or walker. His tenacity and positive attitude kept him going and that I always admired him for not giving up.

A Solemn Moment No less than a year ago I came by the Wagoner’s to see them and to pick up seasonal supplies I had ordered. It was a nice October day and the mountains were ablaze in the autumn colors. Helping Fred load a wreath table onto a golf cart he had made at the old warehouse, we rode up the steep grade to the new warehouse to unload. He had on his mind to pick up some apples at a tree next to a steep Fraser fir field. With an apple picker in hand we arrived at the tree where hundreds of apples lay on the ground and on the tree. It did not take long to fill two buckets of the ruby red fruits. As I continued to pick up very nice apples Fred had to rest and made the comment, “maybe Dot can make me an apple pie.” I cannot explain it but at the time I felt a bond of compassion and love, and bit of sadness noticing how Fred’s health had declined and I

could not do enough to ease the situation. This was a moment that is etched in my memory and a cherished moment I will not soon forget.

Fred’s Influence and Love for Others

Over the many years Fred touched and influenced many people and his outgoing personality, love and compassion to help anyone in need was never in short supply. What he and his brother John learned about the business they shared with many. I think of Bill Stanton, Bill Stanton Jr. and Joe Freeman and there are others he helped to start a Christmas tree business of their own. The hard work ethic the brothers were instilled with carried over to those who helped Fred at Fraser Knoll, and in turn the hard work Fred instilled in them has made them good stewards of the farming of trees and caring for the environment. The Christmas tree business has been good to Fred and Dot for many years. A good reputation, producing a quality product and the love for all their tree customers and others in the business has paid off in dividends that is priceless. Fred’s involvement with 4-H earned him an induction in the National 4-H Hall of Fame, local Ruritan and the love for his church, among other involvements has accomplished his lot in life. He dearly loved being a part of the VCTGA and looked forward to the annual meetings, and to fellowship with all he has known in Virginia for years. My last conversation I had with Fred was somber, but his uplifted spirit was overwhelmed with all the cards and letters he received from many in Virginia. He was grateful I informed the VCTGA of his condition. Fred never lacked words to express how he felt for he knew his time would soon expire. The Lord called Fred home on July 22, 2011 and I am sure the Lord welcomed him, saying “well done thy good and faithful servant.” Provided by Tommy Naylor

VCTGA News Journal ‐ Fall 2011

VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

ALPHA NURSERIES, INC 3737 –65TH ST. HOLLAND, MI 49423 Phone: 269 - 857-7804 Fax: 269 857-8162 Email:

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Size Age

Per Per 100 1000

Colorado Bl. Spruce

9-15" 10-18" 14-20" 18-24"

2-0 2-1 2-2 2-2

$38 $86 $122 $152

$200 $535 $765 $950

10-18" 14-20"

2-0 2-2

$38 $105

$200 $660





Picea pungens 'glauca'

Kaibab, San Juan Misty Blue * * - Add $75/1000

White Spruce Picea glauca

Lake States

Norway Spruce Picea abies

Black Hills Spruce Picea glauca 'densata'

Serbian Spruce Picea omorika

Abies fraseri

Roan Mountain

Balsam Fir Abies balsamea

Nova Scotia

Concolor Fir





10-16" 14-18"

2-2 2-1

$88 $85

$550 $530





















8-12" 12-18" 18-30"

P+2 P+3 P+3

$102 $124 $144

$640 $775 $900

6-12" 8-12"

P+1 P+2

$94 $104

$590 $650





8-14" 10-16"

P+1 P+2

$110 $124

$685 $775

10-18" Pseudotsuga menziesii glauca 12-16" Lincoln, Deep Mount., 20-30" Shuswap Lake

2-0 2-1 2-2

$37 $84 $124

$195 $525 $775

7-12" 12-20"

P+2 P+3

$112 $144

$700 $900

West Virginia

Abies koreana

$43 $225 $112 $700 $160 $1,000

Lake States

Red Pine

2-0 2-2 2-2









Austrian Pine

8-12" 8-14"

2-0 2-1

$37 $88

$195 $550

Scotch Pine

6-10" 10-18"

2-0 2-0

$27 $36

$140 $190

Pinus resinosa

Lake States

Pinus sylvestris

Scots Highland, Guadarrama, French Riga, Macedoina

Southwest. Wh Pine





Ponderosa Pine

6-9" 5-10"

2-0 2-1

$45 $84

$235 $525

18-30" 30-42"

2-0 2-0

$98 $128

$610 $800

American Larch Larix laricina


Canadian Hemlock Tsuga canadensis


White Cedar










4-8" 2-0 8-15" 2-0, 3-0

$34 $46

$180 $240





Write today for complete price list! Note: Other evergreen species available. In addition, we grow 200 species of broadleaves.

Douglas Fir: Korean Fir:

8-12" 12-18" 16-24"

Pinus strobus

Thuja occidentalis

$220 $550 $775

Abies balsamea var. phanerolipsis

White Pine

Black Hills N.F.

$42 $88 $124

Canaan Fir

Per Per 100 1000

Pinus ponderosa

2-0 2-1 2-2

Santa Fe N.F.

Size Age

Pinus strobiformis

5-10" 6-9" 10-18"

Abies concolor


Pinus nigra

Fir Fraser Fir

Pine, Other Evergreens

VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

25% deposit due with order. Thank you for your consideration!

Jeff Busscher, Manager

| 13

Virginia Farming WVPT-TV to promote “Experience a Real Tree”

WVPT is proud to serve farmers, agribusinesses and all viewers with our award-winning, weekly television program Virginia Farming, which is now entering its 9th season. The show helps keep farmers, agribusinesses and the general public abreast of news and issues involving Virginia agriculture. Virginia Farming is the Commonwealth's only locally produced, weekly farm series on television. Writer and awardwinning Shenandoah Valley farm radio broadcaster Jeff Ishee hosts the series. The television program is an exciting development for the rural and agricultural community. Guests from across the region appear on the show to discuss poultry, beef, dairy, crop, wine, seafood, timber, aquaculture and related industries. Included in each 30-minute program are long-range agricultural weather forecasts, market trends, a salute to an individual farm community and a round table discussion with a guest.

Virginia Farming is seen throughout the Shenandoah Valley and Central and Northern Virginia (including DC), plus portions of Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia on WVPT each Friday evening at 7:30pm and also Saturday and Sunday at noon. It is seen in Richmond on WCVE and Charlottesville on WHTJ Sundays at 1pm and in Roa14

14 |

noke on Blue Ridge PBS Saturdays at 11:30am. West Virginia PBS airs the program statewide Sundays at 11:30am. And the program is seen twice weekly by a national audience on RFD-TV.

season - a farm-grown Christmas tree. You also protect the environment, stimulate the rural economy, add value and diversity to rural acreage, and provide jobs outside the city limits. Thank you for what you do! We hope to work with you often in the future to help consumers better understand the benefits (and challenges) of being a Christmas Tree grower." Best regards, Jeff Ishee

DRAFT Certificate of Recognition Quote fromJeff JeffIshee Ishee Quote from Host of Virginia FarmHost of Virginia Farming ing "Virginia Farming and WVPT would like to thank the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association for supporting our television program. Christmas Tree growers work all year long to provide families with one of the highlights of the Holiday season - a farm-grown Christmas tree. You also protect the environment, stimulate the rural economy, add value and diversity to rural acreage, and provide jobs outside the city limits. Thank you for what you do! We hope to work with you often in the future to help consumers better understand the benefits and challenges of being a Christmas Tree grower." "Virginia Farming and WVPT would like to thank the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association for supporting our television program. Christmas Tree growers work all year long to provide families with one of the highlights of the Holiday

The following proclamation has been sent to Governor McDonnell to sign to help promote the experience of a real tree, which he did for the first time in 2010.

By virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution in the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, there is hereby officially recognized:

VIRGINIA CHRISTMAS TREE MONTH WHEREAS, Virginia farmers grow Christmas trees on thousands of acres across the state for wholesale, retail and choose-and-cut customers, WHEREAS, Virginia farmers produce numerous varieties including spruce, pine, fir and cedar as fresh cut, cut-your-own or live trees; and WHEREAS, the fresh appearance and fragrant aroma of a live Christmas tree has been part of family and corporate tradition for more than 250 years in Virginia; and WHEREAS, real Virginia Christmas trees contribute to a healthy environment by adding oxygen to the air, providing wildlife habitat and increasing soil stability; and WHEREAS, purchases of real Virginia Christmas trees benefit the growers, the environment and the state’s economy as well as those

VCTGA News Journal ‐ Fall 2011

VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

who enjoy the tree’s freshness, fragrance and lasting beauty; and WHEREAS, Virginia Christmas trees are a renewable resource and for every one harvested, two to three seedlings are planted in its place; and

Mount Rogers Fraser Fir Seed Orchard

This past summer I was hired by the Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association to visit ten agritourism operators in the province. My assignment was to conduct farm reviews and provide recommendations on how each operator could grow their business.

WHEREAS, consumers can drive an hour or less in any direction in Virginia and find fresh Virginia grown Christmas trees to purchase; and WHEREAS, Christmas tree farming is part of Virginia’s most economically important industry, agriculture, and buying real Christmas trees from Virginia growers helps them maintain their agricultural operations and helps expand the overall economy of the state; NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert F. McDonnell, do hereby recognize December 2011 as CHRISTMAS TREE MONTH in the COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.

An Example Example of the An the Virginia VirginiaDept. Dept.ofof Forestry Collaboration! Forestry Collaboration!

On Sunday, June 26, 2011, a new, second generation, Mount Rogers Fraser Fir Seed Orchard was celebrated as a partnership with the Virginia Department of Forestry and the Mount Rogers Christmas Tree Growers Assoc., Inc. The Virginia Commonwealth State Forester, Carl Garrison, III, shared the vision of the collaboration and partnership for a seed orchard as a way to preserve the superior characteristics of the Mount Rogers Fraser fir for many generations of Christmas tree farmers and their customers in the future. The Mount Rogers Fraser fir Christmas trees are an economic engine for Grayson County, Virginia, surrounding counties, and the entire Commonwealth. The Virginia Department of Forestry initiated a land exchange with the Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation, which lead to the establishment of the “Old Flat State Forest” and the new Mount Rogers Fraser Fir Seed Orchard. The land exchange was a four year process which was approved by the unanimous consent of the Virginia State Legislature and signed by the Governor. Preserving the native Mount Rogers Fraser fir for its unique gene pool will have long lasting environmental significance, which is important to the Department of Forestry’s vision.

Jake and Jenna Bostic help Virginia Carroll Jakedoor and prize Jenna Bostic help Virginia with drawings and showcasing auctions at with the annual Carroll door meeting. prize drawings

and showcasing auctions at the annual meeting.

VCTGA News Journal – Summer 2011

VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

Five “Quick Fixes” to Improve Your Farm Marketing

John Rosser, President of the Mount Rogers Christmas Tree Growers Assoc., Inc., expressed to Mr. Garrison, on behalf of the tree farmers, “our appreciation and gratitude for all of the support which we have received from the Virginia Department of Forestry!”

It was a good week for me because, not only did I get out of the oppressive heat of our Midwest summer, but I also had the opportunity to visit ten very diverse farming operations and spend time with the farm families. The operations included a bed & breakfast with a spa; some small, outdoor farm stands; a small pasture-fed beef operation; and a few traditional farm markets. Once again it was obvious to me that the farm enterprises in Canada are very similar to those in the United States—except for the fact that they are not suffering from the economic downturn to the same degree as U.S. businesses. In both countries, though, I find that as farmers, we are all still struggling to find the right formula to turn profits on our farms. My project in Ontario required 10 written reports, and in completing them, I began to observe some common issues—issues that I also see in many other farms both in Canada and the U.S. If your farm is not quite where you want to be, here are five “quick fixes” I’ve found to be almost universal to farm enterprises nibbling at the edge of their profit potential. 1. Paint Up – Fix Up Farmers always want to show me their “newest” attraction, and they have tremendous enthusiasm for the next great item to be added to their entertainment area. However, when I Page 15

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look at the entire mix of attractions, my attention is often caught by the older ones. At four or five years old, they are showing wear. Sure, the new attractions are fun for you and will excite your visitors, but the wooden picnic tables, play structures, fencing and old signs that have flaking and peeling paint can be a turn-off for your guest no matter what new attraction you added this year. Unfortunately, it is easy for us to walk around our farm and look right past the obvious wear. I suggest you ask an honest friend to take a fresh look to see what needs to be painted, replaced or just thrown on the burn pile. 2. Price For a Profit No matter what size or scale of your operation, you need to be pricing your products to earn you a profit. I am still amazed at the number of

farms that continue to have the “wholesale farmer” mentality. If you are growing apples here in the Midwest and have a pick your own farm, then it really does not matter what the prices are of apples from Washington State or anywhere else. Forget about competing on the wholesale price. You are offering both a delicious, locally grown, fresh picked product, and in addition, you provide a unique experience for people to come on your farm. We should not be ashamed or embarrassed to charge a fair price for our labor as well as the value of our products and services.

bounce back and be successful.

3. Follow Your Passion

While some farms are always looking for the “newest” attractions, there are also those that don’t ever want to make changes. There is saying, “If it’s not broke - don’t fix it.” However, in some cases, our guests may view our lack of change as an

The farms that do best are those that enjoy what they do and respect their customers. Sure, by the end of October we are tired and looking forward to a winter break or slow down, but if this is the lifestyle you love, you’ll

The creative minds never seem to stop. The folks that can combine their own interests and entrepreneurial passion into building a unique business, are sustaining themselves and doing well. This winter, review your interests and see if they could be used to build a new business based on the farm. Agritourism allows us to not only sell our products but to create experiences people can’t get in town. What else can you create on your farm? 4. Be Willing to Change

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Quality Seedlings & Transplants Age


Per 100 Rate

FRASER FIR (3-0) (2-2, PL+2) (3-2, PL+2) (P+3)

6-12” 8-15” 10-18” 12-22”

$45.00 $100.00 $110.00 $125.00

BALSAM FIR (2-0) (P+1) (P+2)

5-10” 8-14” 10-18”

$40.00 $86.00 $110.00

CANAAN FIR (P+1) (P+2)

Per 1,000 Rate

Per 100 Rate

Per 1,000 Rate

$225.00 $725.00 $750.00 $850.00

WHITE SPRUCE - Lake States (2-0, 3-0) 9-15” $40.00 (2-1, 2-2) 15-20” $90.00 (2-2) 15-24” $110.00 (X-LG) 20-30” $250.00

$175.00 $595.00 $750.00 $1,600.00

$195.00 $575.00 $750.00

NORWAY SPRUCE - Lake States (2-0, 3-0) 9-15” $40.00 (2-1, 2-2) 15-24” $90.00 (X-LG) 20-30” $250.00

$175.00 $650.00 $1,600.00

BLACKHILL SPRUCE (2-0) 5-12” (2-1) 8-14” (2-2) 8-15” (2-2) 12-18”

$40.00 $75.00 $95.00 $110.00

SERBIAN SPRUCE (2-0) 8-14” (2-1, P+1) 8-14” (2-2, P+2) 12-18”

8-14” 10-18”

$90.00 $115.00

$595.00 $795.00

DOUGLAS FIR - Lincoln (2-0, 3-0) 9-15” (2-1) 12-18”

$40.00 $86.00

$175.00 $575.00

CONCOLOR FIR (2-0) 5-12” $45.00 $225.00 (2-1, P+1) 8-14” $90.00 $595.00 (2-2, P+2) 12-18” $115.00 $795.00 COLORADO BLUE SPRUCE - San Juan & Kiabab (2-0, 3-0) 9-15” $40.00 $175.00 (2-1, 2-2) 10-16” $75.00 $495.00 (2-2, P+2) 10-18” $110.00 $750.00 (X-LG) 15-24” $250.00 $1,600.00


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WHITE PINE - Lake States (2-0) 4-8” (2-0, 3-0) 5-12” (3-0) 8-15” (2-1) 8-14” (2-2) 12-18” (X-LG) 18-24”

Per 100 Rate

Per 1,000 Rate

$35.00 $40.00 $45.00 $82.00 $110.00 $250.00

$150.00 $175.00 $225.00 $550.00 $750.00 $1,600.00

SCOTCH PINE - Scothighland + French (2-0) 6-12” $35.00 (2-0, 3-0) 9-15” $40.00

$165.00 $175.00

$175.00 $495.00 $695.00 $750.00

WHITE CEDAR (2-0) (3-0) (2-1) (2-2, P+2)

$195.00 $225.00 $550.00 $750.00

$45.00 $90.00 $115.00

$225.00 $595.00 $795.00

AUSTRIAN PINE (2-0) 5-12” (1-2) 12-18”

ARBORvITAE - DARK GREEN, TECHNY, EMERALD & GREEN GIANT (RC+1) 6-12” $110.00 (RC+2) 12-18” $140.00

$40.00 $115.00

$175.00 $795.00

RED PINE - Lake States (2-0) 4-8” (2-0, 3-0) 5-12”

$35.00 $40.00

$150.00 $175.00

4-8” 8-15” 8-14” 12-18”

$40.00 $45.00 $82.00 $110.00

$750.00 $950.00

10-20% Discount on orders over 10,000 plants For complete list please write or call us. Brian Bosch / Owner

VCTGA News Journal ‐ Fall 2011

7/28/10 12:37 PM

VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

inability to keep up with the times. Our agritourism competition continues to expand and continues to raise the bar on farm experiences. For those farms that don’t believe they need to change, I’d like to talk to you five years from now when you are wondering where your customers have gone. 5. Websites Are Critical The Internet has become the marketing media of choice for most of our customers. Yet, so many farms aren’t paying attention to what is on their website and how it is viewed by the public. A website is your primary billboard to the world, and those printed pieces and other media have now become a much less significant factor in the marketing mix. Make sure that your website is not only attractive with good information and photographs, but that you have a website designed so that the search engines can find you. That means that the text, headlines, and the title and hidden coding behind each webpage must meet the design standards of the search engines. Yet, I see so many websites that fail to include the basic components to be search engine friendly. If you want to learn more about how the search engines find you and how to optimize your site for Google and the others, then I suggest that this winter you might read, SEO for Dummies. The winter is our time to renew and reflect on our operations. Make a point to sit down with your family and discuss these five critical areas to see how you can improve for 2011. Jane Eckert is the founder of Eckert AgriMarketing (, a full-service marketing and public relations firm that helps farmers to sell directly to consumers, diversify VCTGA News Journal – Summer 2011

VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

operations and become tourist destinations. She is also CEO of , a search directory for agritourism farms and ranches in North America. Jane can be reached at 314-862-6288 Provided by Sue Bostic, Joe’s Trees, reprinted with permission

Becoming a "Fan" of Facebook A quick review from last month’s column; Social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIN, YouTube, and Twitter, to name the most popular networks, have changed the way people communicate, share information, and promote their business. For example, Facebook was once designed as a way for high school graduates to keep in touch with their friends, or peers, during college. It was a network of friends among friends. But I am here to tell you, friends, that these networks are no longer just for friends, all of them have become the new frontier for marketing our businesses, and as such, we’ve got to get on board. In June, I put together a short questionnaire about social networking, and collected responses from agritourism operators. I wanted to know what they were doing to promote their business through social networking, what programs they used, and what success they’ve enjoyed, if any. I spoke with a pretty good cross-section of farms, most of whom do use traditional websites and e-newsletters, and so I was surprised to find that most of the businesses I spoke to aren’t utilizing the social networks very much and some haven’t tried them at all. Currently, Facebook has over 200 million active users. More than twothirds of their users are outside of college, making their fastest growing demographic those 35 years and

older. And unlike a traditional website, Facebook is constantly changing and evolving, with more than 20 million users updating their statuses, 4 million users becoming “fans” of Pages, 850 million photos uploaded, 8 million videos uploaded and more than 1 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) shared each week. Is anybody looking at all this? You bet. Internet users spent more than 13.9 billion minutes “on Facebook” in just the month of April, 2009. With approximately 72.4% of all Americans and Canadians using the Internet, business cannot ignore its marketing potential. And, to use the Internet most effectively, we need to keep up with the current trends, and the word is, thousands of businesses are setting up Facebook accounts every single day. Setting up an account with Facebook is as easy as having a valid email address and choosing a password. There are, however, three different options for setting up a Facebook presence, and each has a different intended purpose. 1. Profiles – Profiles are usually personal accounts. Your profile is what your friends, family and customers will see about you. They reflect what people already know and anything else you want to tell them. From your interests and hobbies, work place and school, to favorite books and movies, a profile can tell it all. You can add photos, videos or post links to your profile, however, in order for anyone to see it, they must be your “friend.” What’s a “friend”? In the evolution of Facebook, the creators recognized that most of us would prefer to control who sees the information we post online about ourselves. They created a “friending” process, where a person has to ask to see your profile, and you have to grant Page 17

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them permission. If you are not a “friend”, you can only see their name and profile picture. 2. Groups – Facebook will allow you to set up a “Group”. I may have a personal profile, as well as, a group, which is somewhat like a club. Members are allowed to post photos, videos, and links and many are geared to special interests and hobbies. Not everyone can join a group and some even require an invitation. 3. Pages – A “Fan Page” is typically the new tool of choice for businesses. The page uses the same format as a “profile” and the creator must be authorized to set up the account. The primary difference is that anyone may become a fan of the page (you don’t have to ask permission) and the creator has full control over what is added, as opposed to a group, where any member can add material. Pages are being created everyday by businesses, large and small. Companies can add all of their contact information, keep others posted about what’s going on, send out messages to users about events or specials and add photo and video content, because everyone knows a picture is worth 1,000 words. Facebook members join pages by becoming a “fan” of that page and are sent notifications when any content is changed or updated. Most folks just becoming acquainted with Facebook have seen the profiles, and wonder what on earth that has to do with business. So you must understand the differences on these three options: A profile can only be viewed by “friends”, a group relies on hobbies and interests rather than business (thus, a business may not be as easily found), and anyone can find and join a page, which is catered towards businesses.

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When I say “You should consider having your farm on Facebook,” I’m not talking about groups or profiles; creating a page would be the best option for an agritourism business to get involved! Using Facebook as a marketing strategy is difficult for many to grasp, but it’s not an option when you weigh the benefits: 1. Increase awareness of business – A fan of your page could suggest others to become fans and the cycle could lead to more “word of mouth” marketing. 2. Increase communication with existing or potential customers – Once your page is created, your followers can keep track of your events and specials as you post them. 3. Increase customer interest – By uploading new photos or videos, your customers will feel more involved and will want to return if those media reflect any type of change. For example, uploading a photo album of a new attraction will get followers to view the photos and then entice them to see it for themselves. 4. Increase visibility on the Web – Its simple: the more Web sites that link to your business’ site, the more hits you will receive when someone searches your destination (i.e. hyperlinking your business site with your Facebook page). 5. Increase customer retention – special offers or events keep your fans up-to-date and give your customers another reason to return. Facebook is FREE! Facebook is EASY! With over 200 million users on Facebook, you can reach millions of people you would have never found!

A Facebook “Fan Page” can certainly offer great ways to market your business to its full capacity. Next month, I will be continuing my thoughts on social networks and will be highlighting agritourism destinations who have implemented social networks through Facebook. Until then, think of all of the possibilities you could open up if you just used the Internet! Jane Eckert, a national speaker, author and agritourism expert, is principal of Eckert AgriMarketing (, a firm that helps farmers sell products directly to consumers and develop their operations into tourist destinations. Jane can be reached by phone 314-862-6288 or at icledir/eckert-agritourism-fan-offacebook.shtml Provided by Sue Bostic, Joe’s Trees, reprinted with permission By Jane Eckert

A Good Christmas Tree In 2008 Is Not So Good In 2009 WHAT’S GOING ON? Sharon and I had a Murray cypress for our own Christmas tree in 2008 and again in 2009. The very different performance of these two trees, one good and one not, was a big surprise to us and not readily explicable. This experience, and what we learned from it, might interest some other VCTGA members, especially those who are growing, or thinking about growing, Murray or Leyland cypress. We had never had a cypress for a Christmas tree prior to 2007. Therefore, when the Blue Ice and Murray cypress trees we were growing became large enough to use as Christmas trees, we wanted to try these Page 19

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how they might expect the cypress to perform based on our own experience, not just from what we had read or heard about these trees. As I described in an earlier issue of Pines and Needles (spring 2008), we had a great experience with a Blue Ice cypress during Christmas of 2007. The tree held ornaments and lights nicely, it had a relatively strong and persistent aroma, and it held up beautifully for about five weeks in the house. So, our first experience with a cypress, a Blue Ice, was very good. We tried a Murray cypress in both 2008 and 2009. Our excellent experience with a Murray cypress in 2008 convinced us that we could confidently recommend one to our customers as a tree that would hold up well for four to five weeks if given proper care. (To encourage proper care, we give all customers a flyer describing how to care for their trees, as well as their wreaths and table arrangements.) It was purely by chance that we had a Murray cypress the following Christmas (2009), because we had already tried one out for ourselves. We used one again simply because we had a nice looking, seven-foot Murray out in the field, but it had a very crooked trunk up to about a foot from the ground and had been passed over by customers. So, we decided to go ahead and use it ourselves. Our experience with this 2009 tree was markedly different from our experience with the 2008 Murray cypress. The 2008 tree took up about two gallons of water during the first two or three days in the house before water uptake gradually tapered off. After five weeks in the house, the tree still looked fresh and very few scales broke off when I removed the tree from the house. In contrast, the 2009 tree took up virtually no water from the time it was brought into the house until it was removed from the house five weeks later. By the time the tree was removed from the VCTGA News Journal – Summer 2011

VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

house, the scales looked droopy and dried out, and quite a few of the scales broke off during removal. It was not immediately clear why we had such different experiences with the two Murray cypresses. The two trees were cut and maintained in essentially the same manner. Both were cut from the same field comprised of a heavy, silt loam soil, and both were about seven feet tall. They were both taken to the house and immediately placed in a large stand with water where they remained for about five weeks. The trees were kept in exactly the same location in the house, and temperatures in the house were the same during the 2008 and 2009 Christmas seasons. I just didn’t understand what was responsible for the tremendous difference in performance of the two trees. I tried to come up with some other explanation (besides field location and soil) for the disparate performance of the two trees. I briefly considered “genetic variation” as the culprit because that is what we are often (and very possibly correctly) told by various technical experts on Christmas trees when they are not able to come up with a diagnosis for some problem with an individual tree or a small number of trees. However, it seemed that I had to rule out genetic variation as an explanation because, as I understand it, Murray cypresses are clones (propagated by rooting cuttings) and would all have the same genetic makeup. So, I came up with another hypothesis that is logical, but I was not sure it was firmly grounded in plant behavior. We had a very wet late fall in 2009, right up to the time of cutting the tree. When I cut the tree, I imagine that it was totally saturated with water. Thus, when I placed the tree in water just 20 minutes after cutting it down, the tree had no water deficit and did not take up any water. By the time the tree dried out

enough to need some water, the sap in the tree had sealed off the vascular system where the tree was cut, and it could not take up any water. Of course, this hypothesis about our 2009 Murray cypress to take up water would seem to imply (maybe unrealistically) that most chooseand-cut trees are suffering a water deficit at the time they are removed from the field (otherwise, most such trees would not take up any water, and that is not the case). This possible explanation seemed suspect to me. At this point, I was not satisfied with my own ideas to explain the difference in performance between my 2008 and 2009 Christmas trees, so I decided to turn to an expert for help. I contacted Professor Eric Hinesley at North Carolina State University. As you will probably recall, Professor Hinesley made a very interesting and informative presentation based on his research into the post-harvest performance of Christmas trees at the 2009 annual meeting of the VCTGA in Blacksburg, VA. One of the things that made me think about Professor Hinesley was that he had mentioned that his research found that cypress trees rehydrate to a greater extent than other species he tested. In any event, I sent an e-mail to him explaining the situation and offering my hypothesis (amateur stab at an explanation) for the difference I had observed. Professor Hinesley kindly responded very promptly to my e-mail and was refreshingly candid about his uncertainty regarding the performance difference between my two trees. He noted that he hears a similar story at least once a year, but that he has never had it happen with any trees he has used in experiments or in his own home. He further noted specifically in reference to Leyland cypress (a very close relative of the Murray cypress) that they usually perform like my 2008 tree; holding up for a long time when placed in water immediately

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after cutting. He added that while he could not refute my hypothesis about pre-harvest moisture content preventing the uptake of water from the stand, he felt that this would not be sufficient to explain the performance difference that I experienced with my trees. (This might have been a kind and scientific way of saying that my hypothesis was a bunch of malarkey.) Professor Hinesley did go on to suggest how I might test the hypothesis. The information I received from Professor Hinesley is encouraging to me and Sharon in that it strongly suggests that the poor-performing 2009 Murray cypress is an anomaly. We’re really glad to hear this, because our 2008 tree was really nice, quite a few of our customers like the Murray cypress, and we are growing quite a few of them. At this time, we still feel that we can confidently, but now tinged with a bit of uncertainty, recommend Murray cypress to our customers. In any event, assuming my 2009 tree was an oddball, I wonder why it became an oddball. Perhaps there is a genetic explanation that does not depend on genetic variation, which I don’t think can apply to clones such as Murray cypress. This alternative genetic hypothesis is that somehow the 2009 tree had gene damage or a gene mutation, but I don’t know whether this is a plausible hypothesis. I guess I’ll need help from a plant biologist on this one. By Steve Rhoades

Updates from NCTA National Director

I am very excited to begin this new journey as your National Director. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. We have always supported the National Christmas Tree Association, but until I actually attended the Convention in Chattanooga, TN I had no idea what a positive impact it could have on our business. So, I am excited to have the opportunity to be more involved on a National Level and at the same time be more involved with the VCTGA.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is a part of DOT accepted comments on a proposal that could require CDL’s and record reporting from all farmers and everyone on the farm who operates any farm vehicle. NCTA along with other commodity groups filed comments. As of August, this issue is non-active but may appear again in the future.

E-Verify: There are currently 17 states that have decided to enforce e-verify on a state level, including Virginia. Each state varies with exceptions to the rule. There are different views on this issue. Some argue that it is essential to protect jobs for American workers. But many in the agricultural community feel there will be dramatic economic impact to their industry. EVerify legislation threatens to make it even more difficult for Ag employers to get the help they need. I encourage you to research this issue as it has many layers. Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Lamar Smith has rescheduled a markup for his Mandatory E-Verify bill (H.R. 2164) for September 21. Given the state of things, Rep. Lungren introduced his Legal Agricultural Workforce Act (H.R. 2895) which he hopes to attach as an amendment to the Mandatory E-Verify Bill. After extensive review of both bills, many Agricultural Organizations feel that the Lungren bill offers the best opportunity to move forward. While neither bill addresses all the needs of agriculture, the Lungren bill offers the better structure from which to move forward.

Going through my notes from Nationals, I contemplated on where to begin until I came across the VISION and MISSION Statement of the National Christmas Tree Association. The Vision is: A Real Christmas Tree should be the centerpiece of every family’s tradition. Our farms and businesses are each unique, but when it comes down to it, we all have a common denominator. We all have the same buyer - THE CONSUMER. Getting ideas and working together to market our product is a must. But let's not put the cart before the horse. We have to be able to stay in business; to run our business. This is an area that is my passion. I had the opportunity to attend the legislative meeting at the NCTA Convention this year. This committee deals with important issues such as legislative and regulatory issues that impact our farms. In closing, I saved the best for last. John Carroll has gone above and beyond when it comes to keeping VCTGA informed on National issues. Thank you and we are so very grateful for all the time and energy you have devoted to this position.

VCTGA Farm Tour Lunch by the Craig County Livestock Club


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Sherrie Severt Taylor, Virginia NCTA National Director

News from NCTA

VCTGA News Journal ‐ Fall 2011

VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

2011 Trees for Troops: FedEx is officially on board again! This year, the Christmas Spirit Foundation’s goal is to reach 100,000 Christmas Trees since 2005. But in order to do this, they need our help. What a great program we have the opportunity to be associated with. The NCTA management company, Drake & Company, has been sold to AMR Management Services of Lexington, KY. The current staff will remain intact, while adding an additional 50 + employees which will only benefit our association. Christmas Tree Check-off: We expect USDA to publish their final ruling before the year’s end. During this rulemaking period, USDA is not allowed to talk to the industry. Once the Check-Off is published in the

Federal Register, it could move forward within 30 days. There will be a board created that will then create a promotion and research plan and budget for its first fiscal year, August 1, 2012 – July 31, 2013. 

DATES TO REMEMBER: CT PLUS will be held in San Antonio, TX on February 17-19, 2012 & National Convention will be held in Sacramento, CA on August 8-11, 2012.

Thanks for Your Service We want to thank the following VCTGA Board members who have served for many years on the board providing guidance, direction and meeting assistance! Tim Wilson, Past President Steve Satterfield, Vice President and Annual Meeting Chair

(l) andand (r) Bill at the (l)Bostic BosticFamily Family (r) Murray Bill Murray Thursday BBQ Dinner. at the Thursday BBQ Dinner

Tommy Naylor, Director

Ad - Tim Mitchell

VCTGA News Journal – Summer 2011

VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

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Trees for Troops page 3

Trees For Troops Update from NTCA


For the past several years FedEx has helped to deliver, on average, 17,000 Real Christmas Trees to 60 or more military bases throughout the U.S. and overseas. In 2010, we reached 83,957 since the program began in 2005. This year, we will top 100,000 Christmas Trees delivered. All we need is 16,043 trees this year to reach our goal and as an industry, we can do it! There are many ways you can participate: 

How you can donate through your State Association – Work with your state/regional coordinator to help be a drop off point – for other farms to bring their trees to you; or be one of the farms that drops off a donation to a designated farm.

Host a Trailer Drop – As the name implies, FedEx drops off a 28’ trailer at your farm or retail lot on December 2 and retrieves it on December 5. Consumers can purchase a tree for a military family and load it in the tractor trailer themselves with a personal message to the military.

Offer Sponsorships – Something new this year, offer customers and local business an opportunity to become a sponsor of a tree for $5.

Collect, Sell and Encourage Donations – Place a donation bucket out; sell Trees for Troops bears, ornaments or charms in your gift store.

Texting – Make a $10 donation to Trees for Troops by texting TREE to 50555.

Call or email Amy Mills at NCTA today to see how you can help! or 636-449-5060. Sherrie Severt Taylor, Virginia NCTA Director


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VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

Tree Contest Winners

Tree Contest Winners

Farm Tour at Joe’s Trees Farm Tour at Joe’s Trees

Farm Tour Pest and Disease Evaluations Farm Tour Pest and Disease Evaluations

Sue Bostic gives her school tour presentationSue to VCTGA Bostic Farm givesTour. her school tour

Insect Identification by Eric Day, Manager of Insect the VA Tech Insect Identification Lab. Identification by Eric Day,

presentation to VCTGA Farm Tour

Manager of the VA Tech Insect Identification Lab Insect Identification by Eric Day, Manager of the VA Tech Insect Identification Lab

Sue Bostic gives her school tour presentation to VCTGA Farm Tour

Virginia and John Carroll, Claybrooks Farm, Louisa, VAJohn Carroll, ClayVirginia and

brooke Farm, Louisa, VA

Virginia and John Carroll, Wreath Contest Winner Claybrooke Farm, Louisa, VA

Wreath Contest Winner

Danny demonstrates Danny demonstratespower powerwashing washingof groundsofatgourds Joe’s Trees. at Joe’s Trees Jocelyn Lampert, Crazy Joe’s Christmas Jocelyn Lampert, Crazy Joe’s Tree Farm, Elkwood,VA

Christmas Tree Farm, Elkwood, VA

These state contest winners will Jocelyn Lampert, Crazy Joe’s have the honor of presenting the ofChristmas Tree Farm, Elkwood, VA ficial trees and wreaths for the Governor’s Mansion Richmond. These state contest will These stateinwinners contest have the honor of presenting the ofwinners will have ficial trees and wreaths for thethe Governor’s Mansion in Richmond. honor of presenting

Danny demonstrates power washing of gourds at Joe’s Trees

Norm Dart, VDACS State Plant PatholoNorm Dart, VDACS State Plant Pagist discusses scouting techniques for pothologist discusses scouting tential Christmas tree diseases.

techniques for potential Christmas tree diseases Norm Dart, VDACS State Plant Pathologist discusses scouting techniques for potential Christmas tree diseases

Welcome and Congratulations to the newly elected VCTGA Directors

the official trees and wreaths for the Governor’s Mansion VCTGA News Journal – Summer 2011 in Richmond.

Donna O’Halloran Derick Proctor Fred Shorey Virginia National Director to VCTAPage 31 Sherrie Taylor

VCTGA News Journal – Summer 2011 VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

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383 Rd 383Coal Coal Hollow Hollow Rd Christiansburg, VA Christiansburg, VA 24073-6721 24073-6721 540-382-7310 540-382-7310 www.Virginia www.Virginia


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VCTGA News Journal – Fall 2011

VCTGA News Journal ‐ Fall 2011