How to start a tree farm in texas

Tree Farm | Texas Forestry

"To promote the growing of renewable forest resources on private lands while protecting environmental benefits and increasing public understanding of all benefits of productive forestry."

A Tree Farm is at least 10 acres of forestland under management, with an implemented plan that accounts for water quality, wildlife habitat and soil conservation, as well as production of forest products. Established in 1941, the American Tree Farm System is the oldest and largest forest certification program in the United States.

By constantly seeking expert advice on sustainable forestry practices, Tree Farmers make good decisions for their land that will sustain their forest for generations to come.

Texas Tree Farm is co-sponsored by Texas Forestry Association, a task force of 30 foresters and landowners comprise the Texas Tree Farm Committee. The Committee meets at least four times per year to distribute recertification forms and plan the Tree Farm events for the year. Communications and outreach programs initiated from the Tree Farm Committee include the Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year contest and Tree Farm promotion through printed ads and other means as provided by grant funding from the American Forest Foundation.

For more information about Tree Farm, download the 

Texas Tree Farm brochure.

Click here to read the new 2021 Tree Farm Standards by the American Forest Foundation.

Leadership/Area Chair List


Michael Easley
Texas A&M Forest Service
1605 W. Loop 304
Crockett, TX 75835
[email protected]


Caleb Murray
269 Ironwood Lane
Diboll, TX 75941
[email protected]


Susan Stutts
Texas Forestry Association
P.O. Box 1488
Lufkin, TX 75902-1488
936/632-9461 fax
[email protected] org


Kelby Wolf
Texas A&M Forest Service
P.O. Box 1000
Pittsburg, TX 75686
903/856-9033 fax
[email protected]


Tandy Wheeler
Texas A&M Forest Service
P.O. Box 967
Gilmer, TX 75644
[email protected] 


Joel Rudolph
Morrow Land Group
1329 N University Dr, Ste F-1
Nacogdoches, TX  75961
[email protected]


Farmers National Company
P.O. Box 623
Jacksonville, TX 75766
[email protected] 


Robin Willhoite
United Timber Management Co.
P.O. Box 838
Timpson, TX 75975
936/936-254-3775 fax
[email protected]


Michael Easley
Texas A&M Forest Service
1605 W. Loop 304
Crockett, TX 75835
[email protected]


Caleb Murray
269 Ironwood Lane
Diboll, TX 75941
[email protected] 


Glen Dirksmeyer
Georgia-Pacific, LLC
P.O. Box 47

Camden, Texas 75934


[email protected]


Bob Harper
Harper Forestry
13843 Hwy 105 West, Suite 213
Conroe, Texas 77304
[email protected]

Download Tree Farm map (pdf) to determine your Area location.

How to Start a Tree Farm

If you own acreage, you should consider starting a tree farm. The American Christmas Tree Association  reports the average price for a tree was $74 in 2017. The average number on a farm was 200 trees equaling $14,800. Looking for a Christmas tree farm for sale is one option.

Here’s how to start a tree farm that grows other kinds too.

Buy Some Land or Set Some Aside

It makes sense that the first thing you will need to be a tree farmer is some land. If you already own some acreage, you’ll need to designate a part of your farm for trees. Fallow land that’s not being used for anything else or other crops is best.

If you’re starting from scratch, buying a wooded piece of property can get you started. That way you can sell the lumber that’s already there. Make sure there is only a slight slope to any land you want to buy. That way water will pool slightly and not just run downhill.

Land that’s already been used for a crop is a good buy.

Patience is important. Most types of trees that are worth money take eight years before they are big enough to harvest.

Start a Nursery

Another option is to start a nursery. It only takes a few years to have enough young trees to sell. This is a good option for an urban tree farm.

Decide on the Tree Types

Starting a tree farm begins with some careful decisions. Some people start looking for a Christmas tree farm for sale. But there are other types of trees that you can make money on. Fruit and lumber trees are popular choices, but they don’t grow everywhere.

It all depends on the area of the country where you live. That goes for people who are looking to start an urban tree farm like a nursery too.

If you are wondering how to start a tree farm, you can choose to grow trees for lumber. These need to grow fast and the best choices are hardwood trees like birch and cherry.  Wondering how to start a Christmas tree farm?

These can be ready to go in as little as a decade.

Picking the right market is an important part of deciding what to grow

Look After the Trees

You might be looking for a Christmas tree farm for sale or starting an apple tree farm. It doesn’t matter since you need to know how to look after your trees.

Applying mulch, watering and fertilizing are critical so they grow. Stake them for the first year so they don’t blow over. And don’t forget to prune them to improve the space between branches.

Choose the Market

If there’s a farmer’s market close, an apple tree farm makes perfect sense. This is a good idea if you decided on trees that grow fruits and nuts too. Talk with local builders if you’re growing trees for lumber.

Greenhouses and nurseries are the people to connect with if you’re going to grow landscaping trees.

Get the Right Equipment

You always need the right tools for any job. And becoming a tree farmer is no exception. You can rent or buy the following, but you will need to shop for these tools to make your tree farm successful.

Look for a Good Tractor

A good tractor will help you to till and plow the soil. Remember you need to leave 6 feet on all sides  between trees so they grow properly. If you’re just starting out and you want to rent, make sure to get a few quotes. These can go by the number of hours you’ll need the machine.

Here’s a good blog that tells you what to look for if you’re planning on buying a used tractor.

Invest in a Tree Auger

You will need one of these to make the holes to plant the trees. Make sure that you find an auger designed for this purpose. It should be marked as a tree auger. It needs to do specific things like leaving enough room for backfilling after you planted the tree.

There are other items you’ll need too like a chainsaw and a trailer. The chainsaw is for pruning and cutting the trees down. The trailer is for hauling your trees and other tools around.

Research Certifications

There are several certifications to go for and groups you can join.

The American Tree Farm System has a five step process for certification. The Government offers some incentives for tree farmers that want to grow things like fruit here.


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90,000 farming in the US | Russian Bazaar


#4 (979)

Maxim Bondar

Maxim Bondar

Last week, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development, a massive program that aims to train the next generation of American farmers. Millions of dollars are planned to be spent on popularizing the profession of a farmer and all kinds of assistance to novice agricultural workers.

The USDA does not hide the fact that there is a catastrophic shortage of farmers in the United States and the state will do everything possible so that people move to the outback of the country, buy ranches and large areas of land.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of farmers will decrease by 19% between 2015 and 2022, which will lead to a food crisis and a rise in food prices. Meanwhile, the national average farm wage is $69.,300. This is a pretty good amount, considering that such businessmen in the vast majority of cases live in their own homes (that is, they do not pay rent or mortgages).

"Agriculture is an area that will always generate income," said labor market analyst Jeb Halley. - The country's population is increasing. The demand for food is growing. The cost of farms and ranches is at an all-time low. Moreover, for many people, buying farmland is a way to start a new life, get away from the bustling city and start working for yourself.”

Currently, 73% of farmers are self-employed and absolutely independent of anyone. This profession is considered one of the most promising among immigrants, since almost a third of visitors have experience working in the fields. Another indisputable plus is education, or rather the lack of it. Many successful businessmen do not even have a high school diploma.

“Today, there are about 40,000 farms and ranches on the American market, priced between $5,000 and $10 million,” says Ernest D., an agricultural infrastructure sales specialist. – On average, a good farm, consisting of a residential building, barns, a dozen other buildings and at least 20 acres of land, costs about $130,000. It's smaller than a tiny apartment in New York or Chicago."

According to Ernest, today's farms and ranches are bought by a variety of people - from retirees who dream of living away from civilization to young workaholics.

“One of my clients were three Guatemalans who won green cards,” says the specialist. “In just six months of washing dishes in Manhattan, they saved up $60,000 and bought an 18-acre farm in Kentucky. A year later, these guys had made almost half a million dollars selling chicken. There are many such stories."

According to Ernest, success in the agricultural business depends solely on hard work. Many farmers get up at 5 am and work until 7 pm. They do not hire workers and do all the menial work themselves.

How to understand the principles of the agricultural business? Here, the story of New Yorker Will Jones is indicative, who, after a divorce from his wife and loss of his job, firmly decided to start a new life.

He never worked in the outback and had a brilliant legal education behind him. However, "farm romance" has always fascinated him.

“I flew to Idaho and got a job on a potato farm the very first day,” Jones recalls. A friendly businessman paid me $50 a day plus free food and lodging. I didn't talk about my past, pretending to be an ordinary mechanic. For three months of work, I had before my eyes a complete picture of how the potato business works. I became a PhD in the potato industry.”

After quitting his job, Jones, who had amassed almost half a million dollars while working as a lawyer, bought a huge potato farm, hired workers and turned it into a profitable business. The experience gained while working in the fields, he considers invaluable.

“Many people who dream of becoming farmers imagine themselves sitting on a rocking chair in front of a huge field with a bottle of beer in their hands,” Jones says. They have no idea about agriculture, but they are sure that they will succeed. My advice to you is to work at least three months on someone else's farm first. It is possible that you will hate this job.

Now about the most important thing. There is an unusual trend in modern US agriculture. Beginning farmers are increasingly moving away from growing popular crops like corn, soybeans and potatoes, in favor of producing something exotic and in small quantities.

Here it is worth dwelling on the story of the Californian Frank Lee, who bought a tiny farm in Iowa. His $12,000 lot was in the middle of vast cornfields.

“Farmers laughed at me and said that I wouldn’t make even hundreds of dollars a month on the cob,” Lee recalls. “However, I did not intend to grow corn. My job was to produce shiitake mushrooms and oysters, which a year after buying the land brought in a million dollars in profit.”

The most interesting thing is that Li had only theoretical experience in growing mushrooms. He has read a dozen books, watched several educational films, and interacted extensively with mushroom farmers over the internet.

Mushrooms is one of the most profitable farm products. For example, oysters produce 25 pounds per year per square foot. If you consider that the average retail price for a pound of these mushrooms is $7, then you can earn $17,500 from a small space of 10 by 10 pounds.

“The hardest part is getting all the legal formalities out of the first stages of running a farm,” says Lee. – In addition to the USDA, there are a number of federal, state and city authorities seeking to ban or issue a fine. You have to keep all inspectors under control to stay in business."

The only worker on Lee's mushroom farm is his 25-year-old son, Jacob. His responsibilities include selling mushrooms via the Internet. He promotes goods on social networks, sells to large supermarkets and small shops.

“Knowledge of the Internet is a huge advantage for new farmers over hereditary farmers,” says Jacob. - Many businessmen living in the outback do not use the Internet and do not even have a computer. They have regular customers and they are not interested in new ones. They don’t even know how they can get a boost from internet farming.”

Jacob is absolutely right. If desired, an agricultural business can even be promoted on Facebook, where there are many groups of fans of various products - from mushrooms to beef steaks. In addition, the possibilities of modern mail are not limited. If desired, for example, fresh beef chops can be sent in a special container to Alaska or the Hawaiian Islands. In certain situations, it is even beneficial.

Mushrooms are on the list of goods that bring in about $50,000 annually from one acre of land. An acre in the outback of the state is practically worth nothing. In Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma or Arkansas, such a microscopic farm with an old house can be purchased for $ 10 - $ 15 thousand.

So, in addition to mushrooms, the most profitable crops are:

Lavender. Used in the manufacture of soaps, incense, bouquets and funeral wreaths. So, in California there was a case when a former employee of a funeral agency took up the lavender business. He signed contracts with the largest businesses in the state and supplied them with wreaths worth more than $400,000 a year.

Willow (Spring Pussy Willows). These woody plants are popular with florists and interior designers alike. Some varieties of willow are so unpretentious that the crop can be harvested all year round.

Thuja. A rapidly growing bonsai used for landscaping facades and lawns. One sprout costs about a dollar. After 24 months, the tree is ready for sale at a price of at least $10 - $15. Plus, you can add a tidy sum for a plastic pot and shipping.

Bonsai (Bonsai Plants). One of the scarcest plants on the market. Outwardly, it looks like a full-fledged maple, reduced to half a meter in size. I am sure that every resident would like to have a similar beauty of the house. The price of the most simple and inconspicuous bonsai is $30. The most beautiful specimens are sold for hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

Willows. Luxurious, beautiful and fast growing tree. Willow seedlings sell for $7 a pound and are in high demand from woodworking companies that supply boards to furniture manufacturers.

Giant garlic (Elephant Garlic). Personally, I learned what "elephant garlic" was last week when I bought one head of this amazing product for $5 in an American supermarket. The taste is incomparable and it cuts very comfortably. One slice is comparable in size to an apricot. In good soil, the yield is 15,000 pounds per acre. The profit is obvious.

Herbs. The cultivation of various herbs for culinary and medicinal purposes has increased by 20% in the last decade. A small jar of loose spices costs at least $3 in stores. If you grow your herbs wisely and process them appropriately (dry, grind, mix), you can easily become a millionaire.

Bamboo. Chinese immigrants have long established the production of bamboo in the south of the country, as the demand for this plant is constantly increasing. Bamboo is used to make furniture, interior items, souvenirs and much more. If you offer a good price, then a wholesale buyer can be found quite easily.

Ginseng (Ginseng). One of the most useful products in modern agriculture. According to Chinese philosophy, it prolongs life and youth. You can sell ginseng in a variety of forms - raw, dried, pickled, salted, mashed, etc. If you undertake to grow an organic and environmentally friendly product, then do not sell it for less than $50 per pound.

Finally, it should be said that in the United States there are more than a hundred farm organizations that help aspiring agricultural businessmen in every possible way.

Moreover, under pressure from the USDA, banks began to willingly give loans to buy a farm or ranch, as well as approve the business plans of budding but ambitious farmers.

In general, everything is going to restore America to its former glory of a country that has a developed and independent market for its own food.

What is a corpse farm and why science needs it

  • Carlos Serrano,
  • BBC

Photo copyright, IFAAS/USF

Photo caption,

These polygons provide pathologists with valuable information about the decomposition of bodies

At first glance, this field looks like an ordinary meadow - a lot of grass, in some places it is especially tall. From a distance it seems that this is an idyllic place for a walk.

But the fact is that the grass in these places is almost a meter higher, because it was nourished by the remains of decaying human bodies for several weeks.

Today is a sunny, hot and humid day. If you go out into the field, the cadaverous smell becomes so unbearable that tears come to your eyes.

There are 15 corpses in this field with a total area of ​​more than a hectare. All of them are naked, some are enclosed in metal nets, others are covered with blue plastic. A few bodies are in shallow pits, but most just lie on the ground in the open.

Each body is surrounded by a patch of dry grass. But it is here that over time the grass will grow rapidly - thanks to additional nutrients.

Forensic Graveyard

Photo Caption,

Dr. Kimmerley examines human remains from death to skeletonization


Although some locals call these places corpse farms, scientists prefer the term "forensic cemetery" or even "laboratory of taphonomy" (taphonomy is a branch of paleontology and archeology that studies the patterns of burial processes).

Here they study what happens to the human body after death.

  • "The Living Dead" will help solve the crime
  • What happens to the human body after death
  • "Death for show": forensic exhibition

This open-air laboratory began operating in 2017. Initially, it was going to open in the nearby town of Hillsborough, but was opposed by local residents who feared that it would attract wildlife and cause an unpleasant smell, which would lead to lower property prices.

Photo caption,

Some bodies are covered with nets to protect them from birds of prey and animals

But it turns out that not only ordinary people doubt the expediency of such establishments. Some pathological scientists also express doubts about the usefulness and necessity of such polygons.

There are six more such farms in the US, and this year similar ones should appear in the UK, Canada and Australia.

Most of the corpses lying in this field were bequeathed to science by the deceased themselves, although sometimes relatives do so.

The main task that scientists set themselves is to understand how the human body decomposes and what happens next to the place where the corpse lies.

In this way, scientists collect data that can help solve crimes and help forensic examinations.

What happens to the body

Image caption,

Collected data helps to restore the appearance of dead people

"After death, a lot of almost simultaneous processes begin," says Dr. Erin Kimmerly. "From the natural process of decomposition to the appearance of a certain type insects and environmental changes.

Dr. Kimmerly is Director of the Institute of Forensic Anthropology at the University of South Florida. She and her collaborators are convinced of the importance of studying bodies that decompose in real time and in a real environment.

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According to her, the process of decomposition of the human body goes through several stages:

in certain organs.

2. Bloating: bacteria begin to process soft tissues, skin color changes become noticeable. Cadaverous gases are formed, soft tissues burst.

3. Active decomposition: at this stage, the main loss of body weight occurs, most of the soft tissues are eaten by worms or become liquid and absorbed by the soil and plants.

4. Completion of decomposition: by this time almost nothing remains of the soft tissues, the activity and number of bacteria, worms and insects decreases. If the corpse lies on the ground, the surrounding vegetation dies, changes in the acidity of the soil are noted.

5. Dry remains: the body begins to resemble a skeleton - it begins with the face, arms and legs. If the area is damp, the body may mummify. Around the body, intensive plant growth begins as a result of the action of nutrients that have entered the soil.

Image caption,

When a body decomposes, it has an impact on the environment

However, these stages are not fixed - they can be strongly influenced by the environment.

That's why Dr. Kimmerly and her staff recreate the different conditions on this farm.

How corpses are observed

Some of the dead bodies are simply laid out on the ground, others are placed in metal cages or covered with plastic sheeting.

Scientists observe how the body decays in each case - how worms and insects act when vultures, coyotes, small rodents and opossums appear.

Image description,

All changes are recorded carefully

Sometimes these vultures come in flocks. Hungry beasts can bite through the skin of corpses, rip apart muscles and tear out internal organs - even turn bodies over.

All this time, scientists are carefully recording and photographing what is happening. They mark the position of the body, whether it is located near a water source, on the surface of the earth or underground, in a cage or in the open.

Geologists and geophysicists work with them, analyzing the processes that occur in soil, water, air - everything that happens with vegetation.

Once the body is turned into a skeleton, it is sent to a so-called dry lab where the bones are cleaned and dried so they can be used for teaching and research purposes.

How to use it

The collected data can be useful in forensic examination.

Image caption,

Geologists take soil samples and study changes in soil composition. The presence of certain substances can indicate the decay of a body in the vicinity.

Understanding the processes of natural decomposition can provide information about the time of death, how long the body has been in these conditions, and even whether it has been carried after death.

This data may also shed light on the identity of the deceased. Together with genetic data and analyzes of bone remains, this information can be used in the investigation of unsolved murders.

What about ethics?

Some may find this work shocking. However, Dr. Kimmerly says she doesn't care.

"As a professional and a scientist, you learn to distance yourself," she says, referring to the taboos that surround death.

"We are often involved in the investigation of murders, - continues the doctor. - The most terrible thing is to see what a person can do to another person."

Image caption,

Some bodies naturally mummify

There have been times when Dr. Kimmerly and her colleagues have spoken to families who lost their children 20 or 30 years ago and are still looking for their remains.

According to her, this work makes sense already because in the US since 1980 alone, almost 250,000 murders remain unsolved.

Since opening in October 2017, the "farm" has received 50 donor bodies, and 180 more people have bequeathed their bodies to it after death. Basically, these are elderly people who are preparing for death.

The Farm does not accept wills from patients with infectious diseases that could infect researchers studying bodies.

Photo caption,

Not all scientists are convinced of the usefulness of such "farms"

Such institutions provide valuable information to science, but there are doubts about this.

"There are problems with open-air polygons like this," says Patrick Randolph-Quinney, an expert in criminal anthropology at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK.

Although he is generally supportive of the ongoing research at such sites, the scientist believes that they are in the early stages.

"There are many variables that cannot be controlled. And you can only observe, and this leads to difficulties in interpreting the data," the scientist notes.

In his opinion, specialists in this field now face the difficult task of moving from descriptive data collection to systematization and standardization, which will help their use in the scientific community.

Anthropologist and anatomist Sue Black of Lancaster University is critical and questions the value of ongoing research due to the small amount of data collected and the extreme scatter of results.

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