The 12 States Where Christmas Tree Harvesting Has Sagged the Most

Written by John Egan

The state of the Christmas tree business in Kentucky is almost as sad as Charlie Brown’s famously frail Christmas tree.

A LawnStarter review of data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows Christmas tree production in Kentucky plummeted 85.9 percent from 2002 to 2012. That was the steepest decline among tree-growing states around the country.

Every five years, USDA performs an agriculture census that includes state-by-state data tallying the number of Christmas trees harvested. According to the census, 7,987 Christmas trees were harvested in Kentucky in 2012, down from 56,473 in 2002. The 2012 figures — the most recent available — were released in 2014.

Sean Southard, director of communications for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, says the Bluegrass State hasn’t been immune to the pressures felt by Christmas tree farmers across the country.

Since statistics from the USDA’s agriculture census won’t be available till next year, Southard says it’s not possible to determine whether Kentucky has reversed the slide in Christmas tree production that it witnessed from 2002 to 2012.

“As you can imagine, there are a number of factors that could be responsible, such as the time it takes a tree to grow, an increase in artificial Christmas trees or the market conditions,” Southard says.

Christmas tree producer in Elgin, Texas

Media reports indicate that like other places in the country, the market conditions for Christmas tree production in Kentucky have been harmed by urban and suburban growth, the aging of farmers and difficulties in attracting younger farmers to replace them.

Tim O’Connor, a spokesman for the National Christmas Tree Association, says the situation in Kentucky likely can be attributed to the greater potential for growing crops other than Christmas trees and the oversupply of trees during the period that the USDA census was conducted.

Kentucky is not alone in the dramatic fall-off of Christmas tree production. Our review found that among the 12 states that saw the biggest drops in harvesting of Christmas trees, the declines exceeded 59 percent.

By contrast, Oregon — the top Christmas-tree-producing state — harvested about the same number of trees in 2002 as it did in 2012, according to USDA. Meanwhile, production in North Carolina soared 47.1 percent during the same period.

Christmas tree farms are a popular family event for consumers

About 27.4 million real Christmas trees were purchased in 2017 around the country, on par with about 27.4 million 2016, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.

“Consumers have been purchasing increasing numbers of artificial trees in recent years, as many of them have been frustrated about the messiness caused by needle drop from trees that were harvested as much as two months before Christmas,” according to USDA.

In addition, USDA says, some consumers believe harvesting a Christmas tree that’s displayed for just a few weeks is wasteful. However, some environmentalists are embracing real trees as an eco-friendly alternative to artificial trees.

Here are the 12 states where the harvesting of Christmas trees — real ones, of course — decreased the most from 2002 to 2012.

#1 | Kentucky

Number of trees harvested in 2002: 56,473

Number of trees harvested in 2012: 7,987

Decrease: 85.9%

#2 | Montana

Number of trees harvested in 2002: 43,793

Number of trees harvested in 2012: 9,028

Decrease: 79.4%

#3 | Louisiana

Number of trees harvested in 2002: 43,742

Number of trees harvested in 2012: 10,811

Decrease: 75.3%

 

#4 | Minnesota

Number of trees harvested in 2002: 463,885

Number of trees harvested in 2012: 130,527

Decrease: 71.9%

 

#5 | California

Number of trees harvested in 2002: 383,940

Number of trees harvested in 2012: 109,045

Decrease: 71.6%

 

#6 | Arkansas

Number of trees harvested in 2002: 18,146

Number of trees harvested in 2012: 5,806

Decrease: 68.0%

 

#7 | Missouri

Number of trees harvested in 2002: 92,483

Number of trees harvested in 2012: 32,810

Decrease: 64.5%

 

#8 | North Dakota

Number of trees harvested in 2002: 2,007

Number of trees harvested in 2012: 735

Decrease: 63.4%

 

#9 | Wisconsin

Number of trees harvested in 2002: 1,605,981

Number of trees harvested in 2012: 611,387

Decrease: 61.9%

 

#10 | Kansas

Number of trees harvested in 2002: 29,094

Number of trees harvested in 2012: 11,350

Decrease: 61.0%

 

#11 | Mississippi

Number of trees harvested in 2002: 39,594

Number of trees harvested in 2012: 15,997

Decrease: 59.6%

 

#12 | Ohio

Number of trees harvested in 2002: 372,957

Number of trees harvested in 2012: 151,327

Decrease: 59.4%

The post The 12 States Where Christmas Tree Harvesting Has Sagged the Most appeared first on Lawnstarter.

Source: https://www.lawnstarter.com/blog/state-rankings/the-12-states-where-christmas-tree-harvesting-has-sagged-the-most/

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