Wednesday, March 2, 2016

2016 S.C. Tree Farm Lobby Day

Bob Franklin accepts Leadership Award
Champions of family tree farms from across the Palmetto state gathered in Columbia on Thursday February 25. Every attendee wears a green button-down shirt with a Tree Farm logo so that the group is easily identified. The annual lobby day takes tree farmers into both sides of the General Assembly to show lawmakers that they have budget priorities and take an interest in other legislative decisions.
Wood, Water, Recreation, Wildlife
Readers of this column in the Colletonian can recall an article in November of 2013 detailing the S.C. Tree Farm system evolving into a fee-based membership. There is an umbrella organization in Washington D.C. for the American Tree Farm System, but while the nation’s economy was in recession, the amount of funding available became greatly reduced. The 2016 lobby day also served as proof positive the new model in S.C. is working just fine, and it appears that the almost 90-percent retention among dues-paying tree farmmembers will continue into the future.

Senator Chip Campsen listens as
Tree Farm Proclamation is read aloud
Representative Chip Limehouse welcomes me
The last S.C. Tree Farm lobby day I attended was five years ago in 2011, and the format for the day remained largely unchanged. The day begins with a briefing at 9 a.m. in an office building next to the state capital, so for those traveling from destinations like Walterboro, it required an early wake up call and travel day. Another Colletonian in attendance, Bob Franklin, is no stranger to the Tree Farm system. He began with introductions of those who would coach the group on what issues to support, and later in the day he accepted an award for his Leadership. I appreciate how Franklin has served as a mentor both to me and to my family's tree farm.

To read the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about tree farms click on Prescribed Fire - Ice Storm - Agribusiness
Diamond Anniversary Logo
Group Photo by Doug Wood

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