Today’s Topic: It’s the most wonderful time of the year for N.C. Christmas trees

by | Dec 6, 2011

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

Southern Farm Network logoWith Christmas only weeks away, North Carolina tree growers are in the midst of their busy season. Many growers in North Carolina offer buyers the opportunity to choose and cut their tree right on the farm. These farms, plus roadside stands and farmers markets with fresh N.C. trees, can be found at Varieties grown in North Carolina include Fraser fir, blue spruce, white pine and Leyland cypress.

North Carolina is the nation’s second-largest producer of Christmas trees, trailing only Oregon. Cash receipts from the sale of N.C. Christmas trees totaled $85 million in 2010.

A few weeks ago, the USDA found itself in the middle of controversy over a proposed national check-off program for Christmas tree farmers. Growers had asked for the program, which would have charged 15 cents per tree from growers who sell more than 500 trees. The money would have funded a program to educate consumers about the qualities of natural Christmas trees and allow the industry to compete more effectively with makers of artificial trees. The program would have been similar to other national marketing efforts, such as the dairy industry’s “Got Milk?” campaign.

The USDA backed off the proposal after bloggers and other commentators started referring to it as a tax.

Click below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda talk about Christmas trees and how the controversy over the check-off proposal was blown out of proportion.

[Audio: |titles=Today’s Topic for Dec. 6]

Southern Farm Network is a division of Curtis Media Group.