VCTGA eNews 9.9.19

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TO: Greetings!

NVirginia Evergreen eNews Journal In This Issue

Presidents Message Volunteer at the State Fair of Virginia Annual Conference Sponsors & Exhibitors VA Tech Extension Christmas Tree Publications Highlights Board/Membership Meeting Minutes Tree/Wreath Contest Winners NCTA Updates MY Christmas Tree Contest Experience VCTGA Conference Speaker PowerPoint Presentations What is TIP Christmas Tree Promotion Board Update Tree Tag Order Info/Form VCTGA Facebook Group - How to Join Support our advertisers - hot links with each ad

President's Message Good day everyone! The Fall season began unofficially - a few days ago and already we are already experiencing slightly cooler weather. Fall Farm Tours are scheduled in many counties. At our farm, the 2018 two-day farm tour brought almost 400 visitors. It is a great way to promote your business as many of the visitors will return over Christmas. If your county has a farm tour, check in to participating. If you don't have one, talk to your county officials or farm bureau about starting one. The 2019 VCTGA Annual Meeting was a smashing success. John Carroll put together a great program and David and Dreama Huffman hosted all at their Spruce Ridge Farm at the end of the three days. We are already working on a site for the 2020 meeting and hope to make an announcement very soon. Lastly, we are in need of volunteers to staff the VCTGA booth at this year's State Fair. Information on how to sign up is contained elsewhere in this enews. Please help if you can.. It is a great experience and a valuable tool in promoting our industry. As always, please let us know if there is anything you need. Here's to a great Fall season!


Jeff Gregson, VCTGA President

Will you be able to help staff the VCTGA exhibit at the State Fair this year? The VCTGA will be hosting an exhibit at the State Fair of Virginia to promote YOUR tree business and the VCTGA's "Experience a Real Virginia Grown Tree" marketing program Four hours of your time gets you an all-day entrance ticket to the Fair and a vendor parking pass with easy access to the exhibit! The Board is looking to "up our game" at the Fair with a more interactive exhibit with new ideas from Cheryll Green with Hanks' Christmas Tree Farm and Laura Wolfe with Every Soul Acres. They have a lot of great ideas! The key first choice item they'd like to include in the display is a REAL Santa Sleigh. So, if you know anyone who has one available to loan, rent, steal or sell, please reply to this email. You can bring YOUR brochures, business cards and info to promote your farm specifically during your time at the exhibit. The first shift of the day during the week is very important, because that is when students attend the Fair and follow the 'blue line' through the exhibit areas. It's also the time that dignitaries and the Governor come through the exhibit areas. Click here to pick your dates/times

Thanks to these Annual Conference Sponsors!! Fir Sponsors Kubota Tractor Farm Credit of the Virginias Spruce Sponsors Cherokee Mfg Fraser Knoll Supply VDACS - Richmond Virginia Farm Bureau Exhibitors Beverage Tractor - Kubota Cherokee Mfg Farm Credit Fraser Knoll Supply VA Tech Extension VCTGA VDACS

TIP: Click here for Virginia Tech Extension Christmas Tree Publications


Click Purcell Ad for full-size ad and Here for link to their website

Board and Membership Meeting Minutes Highlights New Staff - LeeAnn Seeley was introduced and the new staff person to take over the duties of Executive Secretary, Jeff Miller, in 2020. State Fair – Jeff Gregson reported that the VCTGA would have an exhibit at the State Fair of Virginia September 27 – October 6. He asked for volunteers to help with setup, staffing, and takedown. A signup sheet was passed around. There was a discussion on changing the display to include a vintage pickup truck or sleigh for photo ops for attendees to post on Facebook. Cheryll Green and Laura Wolfe volunteered to work on some specific ideas. Jeff Miller will develop a VCTGA membership directory to distribute at the State Fair. MANTS Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show - Danny Neel reported that VDACS would have an exhibit at MANTS to help market Virginia Grown Christmas trees and asked for VCTGA volunteers to help with shipping, setup and staffing the exhibit.


New Grower Workshop – Spring 2019 - Kyle Peer reported that the workshop, on March 18, was a great success with 25 attendees and 10 on a waiting list. It was held at Glengary Christmas Tree Farm in Culpeper County. The VCTGA donated $150 and Tom O’Halloran donated $100 for refreshments and lunch. Area Virginia Tech Extension agents Tim Ohlwiler, Fauquier County and Shawn Appling, Culpeper County, assisted Kyle in the promotion and the workshop. Facebook Group – Ryan Clouse reported that there had not been as much participation in the VCTGA Facebook Group as had been expected since our 2019 meeting. [See instructions on how to join the private Christmas Tree Grower Facebook page at the end of this eNews.] Tree Tags are almost sold out, but there should be enough for this year, and we will need to re-order in 202. Order EARLY! [Click here for an order form] Website upgrade – Jeff Miller is working on website updates and requested any member suggestions for enhancements to the website.

2019/2020 VCTGA Officers and Directors: Jeff Gregson, President John Carroll, Vice President New Directors: Tim Williams, Treasurer Tim Grove, Director Renewing Directors: Laura Wolfe Ryan Clouse Tommy Naylor Cheryll Green Robert O’Keeffe

2019 Tree and Wreath Contest Winners (l-r) Dr. Michael Evans, Director of the VA Tech School of Plant & Environmental Sciences, John Houston, Grand Champion Tree, Lori Grove, Robert O'Keeffe, Jeff Gregson

Tree Winners Firs

John Houston, Sweet Providence Farm, First Spruce Robert O’Keefe, Rifton Farm and Nursery, First John Houston, Grand Champion

Wreath Winners WREATHS - Undecorated Lori Grove, Cavitas Tree Farm, Grand Champion Cheryll Green, Hanks Christmas Trees at Hartland Farm, Second Jake Ballowe/Margaret Seamon, JES Christmas Tree Farm WREATHS - Decorated Jake Ballowe/Margaret Seamon, JES Tree Farm, First Robert and Cecille McDowell, Hidden Fields Farm, Second John Houston, Sweet Providence Farm, Third Tree Judges: Dave Thomas, LeAnne Seeley and Robert McDowell Wreath Judges: Kelly Raymond, Terry Smiley and Roberta Clouse


Grand Champion Tree John Houston Sweet Providence Farm, Floyd, VA

Grand Champion Wreath Lori Grove Caritas Tree Farm, Mt. Solon, VA

National Christmas Tree Association Update August 2019 ¡ NCTA hosted its 2019 Board meeting and National Christmas Tree & Wreath contest in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association summer meeting August 8-9, 2019 at Roba Family Farms, North Abington Township, PA. ¡ The 2019 and 2020 Grand Champion and Reserve Champion growers were selected. These growers will continue the tradition of delivering real Christmas trees to the White


House and Vice President’s Residence............... [Read More]

My Christmas Tree Contest Experience Each year VCTGA members are invited and encouraged to enter 1 or more trees in the Christmas tree contest held at the annual VCTGA Convention. A member can enter a tree in any or all of 4 categories which include Pine, Spruce, Fir and Other Species. A panel of judges has detailed guidelines to score the trees and select winners in each of the 4 categories and an overall Grand Champion. The Grand Champion winner has the privilege of bringing trees to the Governor's Mansion in Richmond. Robert O'Keefe has been doing a great job of coordinating the contest for several years. This past year (2018) our White Pine was chosen Grand Champion. .........[Read More] Dave Thomas, Valley Star Farm, valleystar@embarqmail.com


VCTGA Conference Speaker PowerPoint Presentations as PDF files (Click on the title to open a PDF copy of the presentations, which you can also print/save to your computer)

1. State of the Christmas Tree Industry, Trends and Opportunities - Jeff Owen, NCSU 2. Advancements in Technology, Weed Management and Controlling Cones - Jeff Owen, NCSU 3. Basics of Soil Structure/Influences on Nutrient Availability - Dr. John Galbraith, VA Tech 4. Practical Application of Soil Survey Information in Selecting Species for Your Farm Matt Carroll, Natural Resources Conservation Service / Claybrooke Farm LLC 5. VA Tech School of Plant and Environmental Sciences - Dr. Michael Evans, Director 6. So You Want to Sell Preserved and Prepared Foods on Your Farm? - Lisa Ramsey, VDACS Regional Food Safety Manager 7. Growing Your Small Business , Sandy Ratliff, Virginia Community Capital


ALPHA NURSERIES: Click on their ad above to open a full-size PDF copy. Click here to go to their website

What is TIP? Dear Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association, Thank you for your association’s continuing commitment to NCTA through the Tree Industry Partnership (TIP). The TIP program is essential to NCTA’s mission to protect and advocate for the farm-grown Christmas Tree industry. The funds collected through the program are vital in supporting NCTA’s legislative and regulatory initiatives, holiday safety, research, national media advocacy and other protection-focused programs. These programs allow the industry to: Combat misinformation about farm-grown Christmas Trees and the industry as a whole.


Improve and maintain codes that allow for the safe use of Christmas Trees in homes and businesses. Support legislation and regulations conducive to the growth of small businesses, and resist attempts to unreasonably restrict farmers’ Right to Farm. Conduct national consumer and industry research to prepare f or the f uture.

Shape consumer opinion through information and education, as well as positive events such as the White House Tree presentation. While the TIP program is designed for the greater good of the industry, VCTGA members also receive specific benefits, including: A FREE basic listing on the NCTA Website Tree Locator, or an enhanced listing for $15 A link to y our own website f or $25

The opportunity to purchase a discounted subscription to the American Christmas Tree Journal for $37, a savings of more than $20 off the regular price The VCTGA contributes $25 per VCTGA member to the TIP program

Christmas Tree Promotion Board Update as of 7/29/19 On June 13, the USDA announced that the CTPB referendum passed and the program will continue. The next regularly scheduled referendum will take place in seven years. Through a balloting process of growers who paid assessments on their 2018 harvest, nominees have been selected for three board positions that are vacating as of December 31, 2019. The top two vote-getters in the eastern region are Charles Fowler of NC and Travis Drexler of NY. The Secretary of Agriculture will make the final selection. A request for proposals was announced last month to submit research projects to the CTPB for funding. Proposals were due July 12. The Research Committee is reviewing proposals and will take their recommendations to the board in early August for final approval and funding. The board has budgeted $200,000 for research in the 2019-2020 fiscal year. The Promotion Committee is already at work considering proposals from Concept Farm, CTPB’s advertising agency and Fleishman Hillard, CTPB’s public relations partner. Details will be announced in upcoming issues of the electronic newsletter. Compliance in reporting and assessment payments by growers will be a priority of the board as the program moves forward. A special committee has been appointed to develop a compliance plan that would need to be approved by USDA. All growers are urged to be up to date on their reporting and assessment payments. If you are unsure of your status, please call or email the CTPB staff: 800-985-0773 – info@christmastreepromotionboard.org

· Final reminders

The best way to keep up with CTPB happenings is to subscribe to the CTPB e-newsletter. You can sign up for the newsletter by contacting the CTPB staff at the phone and address above. Follow and support the It’s Christmas. Keep it Real campaign on Facebook and Instagram: www.facebook.com/ItsChristmasKeepItReal/ www.instagram.com/christmaskeepitreal /


Order Your Tree Tags TODAY - Limited Supply!


Exclusive New VCTGA Facebook Group for Members Only A new VCTGA membership benefit was introduced at our annual conference in Natural Bridge by Ryan Clouse – a VCTGA Facebook Group! This is different from a regular Facebook page, in that what you post only goes to other VCTGA Group members. Ask a question, offer tips, new resources, post photos, etc. Ryan is also setting up a resource clearinghouse page for Extension Publications, PowerPoint presentations from VCTGA meetings, and other information that will help you be a more successful/profitable Christmas tree business. To Join: 1. Log into your Facebook profile. 2. Enter “Virginia Christmas Tree Growers” in the search box at the top left of the page. 3. Click the Groups tab to see a list of groups related to your search term. 4. As above, click on the name of the group to learn more, or click Join to become a member of the group. 5. You will have to wait for your membership request to be approved.


For additional info or help, contact Ryan Clouse rclouse@mafc.com or Jeff Miller, secretary@VirginiaChristmasTrees.org

Did You Use "It's Christmas! Keep It Real!"?

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Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association 540-382-7310 Secretary@VirginiaChristmas Trees.org www.VirginiaChristmasTrees. org

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