We’re thinking about your Christmas tree early this year here at the Mid-West Farm Report. Wisconsin ranks No. 4 in the nation for Christmas tree production following Oregon, Washington and Michigan, says Dean Lemky of the Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association.
The association just got together for its annual summer convention after canceling the event last year due to the pandemic. This year, the organization focused on how to get involved in migrant worker programs to mitigate workforce strains and the value of GPS on the tree farm to save on fertilizers, for example.
Lemky, who is also the field manager at Central Wisconsin Evergreens, says it’s a good time to be a Christmas tree grower. He says the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated business for producers statewide for a variety of reasons: the ease of social distancing while picking out a tree, an ache for tradition, and the value of family time.
He expects this year to be just as busy. As a wholesale business, all of Central Wisconsin Evergreens’ trees are spoken for, which is the same for other wholesale growers statewide, he says. It doesn’t just have to do with strong demand. The extreme heat, wildfires and droughts happening west of Wisconsin’s border are shrinking the supply of Christmas trees.
Lemky says consumers can expect a 10-15 percent hike in prices this year for a real tree. He adds that Wisconsin will boast a quality tree crop this year despite some harsh weather.