Macclesfield couple honored as regional Outstanding Tree Farmers

From Contributed Reports

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Judy and Dwight Batts of Macclesfield have been named 2014 Regional Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year for the Southern Region.

They are the fifth generation to manage their family-owned tree farm, Batts Tree Farm. The regional award was conferred by the American Tree Farm System, a program of the American Forest Foundation. It places the couple among four finalists for recognition as the 2014 National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year, an honor that will be conferred in July at the annual ATFS conference in Pittsburgh, Pa. The Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year award sponsored by STIHL, Inc.

“The sustainable production and conservation that Dwight and Judy have created on their family homestead is an inspiration to natural resource professionals, other landowners, visiting school children and anyone else who is lucky enough to pay a visit,” said Sean Brogan of the N.C. Forest Service. The couple, he says, “embodies the spirit of the Tree Farm Program.”

Every year, American Tree Farm System inspecting foresters and state committees nominate Certified Tree Farmers whose conservation efforts, outreach efforts to their community and advocacy for sustainable forest management exceed expectations.

“Privately owned woodlands are vital to our country’s clean water and air, wildlife habitat, recreational activities and producing the jobs, wood and paper products we all need,” said Rita Hite, executive vice president for woodlands and policy with the American Forest Foundation. “These benefits wouldn’t be possible without the outstanding stewardship and hard work of dedicated landowners across the country, and the American Tree Farm System is proud to recognize the 2014 Regional Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year,”

All regional Outstanding Tree Farmers will attend the National Tree Farmer Convention in July and participate in a panel discussion about their sustainable forestry work. The National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year will be selected from one of these regional awardees and announced at the convention.